Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 21 July 2019

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Stena Imprimis, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stena Imprimis    Picture: Trevor Jones

Another of the highly attractive tankers in the Stena fleet, STENA IMPRIMIS (IMO 9797395) enters the port of Durban to work cargo at the Island View liquid bulk terminal. The 49,718-dwt oil and chemical products tanker was built in 2017 for Stena Bulk Cyprus on behalf of Stena Bulk, Gothenburg, Sweden. An interesting choice of a name for a ship, the word imprimis originates with the Latin and later as Middle English to mean “in the first place” or “coming first”. Did this mean the first of a series of tankers, or perhaps the first in this particular livery, one wonders?      This picture is by Trevor Jones



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Deepsea Stavanger to return to SouthAfrica tio drill more wells, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Odfjell Drilling’s semi-submersible rig, DEEPSEA STAVANGER (pictured above) is to return to drill for gas and oil in Block 11B/12B offshore of Mossel Bay, where earlier this year a workable strike using the same rig was made.

Making this announcement, Canadian oil and gas company Africa Energy Corp, which has exploration assets offshore South Africa and Namibia, says the Norwegian rig will undertake the next stage of multi-well drilling on the Brulpadda discovery site.

“We are very pleased that Total was able to secure the Deepsea Stavanger rig again for the next phase of drilling on Block 11B/12B offshore South Africa,” said Garrett Soden, Africa Energy’s President and CEO.

“Using the same equipment and crew that drilled the Brulpadda oil and gas discovery earlier this year should save time and reduce cost. We look forward to starting the multi-well drilling program with the spud of the Luiperd Prospect in Q1-2020.”

Block 11B/12B is located in the Outeniqua Basin 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa. The block covers an area of 19,000 square kilometres with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 metres. The Paddavissie Fairway in the southwest corner of the block includes the Brulpadda discovery and several submarine fan prospects.

The success at both the Brulpadda primary and secondary targets significantly de-risks the other similar prospects identified on 2D seismic. The joint venture partnership for Block 11B/12B recently completed the first phase of the 3D seismic acquisition program over the Paddavissie Fairway. The Brulpadda well results will be integrated with the 3D seismic data in advance of next year’s drilling program, which will include up to three exploration wells.

Africa Energy holds 49% of the shares in Main Street 1549 Proprietary Limited, which has a 10% participating interest in Block 11B/12B. Total SA is operator and has a 45% interest in Block 11B/12B, while Qatar Petroleum and Canadian Natural Resources Limited have 25% and 20% interests, respectively.


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Stena Impero, apparently heading for Iran. Picture: Fleetmon, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stena Impero, apparently heading for Iran.    Picture: Fleetmon

STENA TANKER in Strait of Hormuz suddenly alters course towards Iran

LATEST UPDATE  (23:15 Friday 19 July) — There are unconfirmed reports of a second ship having been attacked in the Strait of Hormuz, with gunfire being involved.  Some confusion exists as to whether the British owned and managed 315,802-dwt VLCC tanker MESDAR (IMO 9452672), flagged in Liberia was the tanker involved.  Late on Friday night the British government was reporting that two tankers have been seized but independent AIS observation suggests that MESDAR is safe and has passed through the strait while proceeding further into the Persian Gulf.

UPDATE (20h15 Friday 19 July 2019).  Iran has confirmed that the tanker Stena Impero was captured earlier by Revolutionary Guards and has been sailed into Iranian waters where it will be handed over to Iran’s maritime authorities.

The tanker was captured after an Iranian helicopter and several small armed boats approached the UK-flagged tanker in international waters and boarded her.  The ship has a crew of 23 seafarers.

In news that is developing as this is published (Friday 19 July 2019, 19h35 SA Time) there are growing fears for a 49,683-dwt Swedish owned, UK-flagged chemical and oil products tanker, STENA IMPERO (IMO 9797400), which is observed heading direct towards Iran.  The tanker was transiting the Strait of Hormuz bound for Jubail in Saudi Arabia when the ship suddenly altered course and now appears to be heading directly towards Iran. Stena Impero has already entered Iranian territorial waters and the ship’s AIS appears to have stopped reporting.

This report has been based entirely on observation of the ship’s course as reflected by AIS. Further developments will be monitored for any statement from the ship’s owners/operators or by the Iranians themselves.

It must be remembered that Iran warned that it will seize a British ship in retaliation for the detention of the tanker GRACE 1 carrying Iranian oil bound for Syria. Grace 1 was detained by Gibraltar authorities as reported in our various news columns.

Stena Bulk, the owner and manager of Stena Impero has just (20h45) issued a statement confirming that the ship was approached by a helicopter and small craft and forced to sail into Iranian waters. Contact with their ship has since been lost.


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MV Chrysanthi S, which has now departed Algoa Bay, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MV Chrysanthi S, which has now departed Algoa Bay    Picture courtesy:  Jens Bolt / Shipspotting

After announcing that 360 litres of oil which was spilled into the sea in Algoa Bay on 6 July had been successfully recovered, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it is holding the owners of the MV CHRYSANTHI S responsible.

The spill occurred when the 80,280-dwt bulk carrier was being refuelled offshore in Algoa Bay by one of the bunker barge/tankers of SA Marine Fuels. An estimated 400 litres of fuel escaped into the sea.

According to SAMSA’s investigation into the matter, the vessel’s owner has been found liable for the spill.

“It appears that the oil spill occurred after one of the fuel tank valves was not properly closed, leading to a vast amount of fuel accidentally spilling out onto the vessel and into the sea. At the time, the vessel had been supplied with as much as 1,300 metric tons of fuel,” said Bongi Stofile, SAMSA’s Regional Manager.

She says the owners of the vessel, Golden Flower Navigation Incorporated, had “accepted liability for the oil spillage and made the necessary undertakings in compliance with relevant South African laws and regulations as well international conventions related to incidents of the nature.”

MV Chrysanthi S, which had been detained while the investigation was conducted, left Port Elizabeth on Friday, 12 July 2019, after the detention was lifted.

SAMSA said yesterday (Thursday) that while the quick reaction and close collaboration of various organisations and parties – Department of Environmental Affairs, TNPA, SA Marine Fuels, oil spillage management services company Extreme Projects and wildlife and environmental groupings Sanparks and SANCCOB – had ensured that the oil had not reached the coastline and that damage was contained, it had however impacted on marine wildlife, particularly sea birds and penguins.

By yesterday, 90 African penguins, nine penguin chicks, three penguin eggs, 12 Cape gannets and five Cape cormorants had been rescued and were being cleaned.

“It is deeply regrettable that, despite all our efforts, marine wildlife and especially endangered wildlife such as the African penguin were harmed. SAMSA is working closely with Sanparks and SANCCOB to ensure that all affected wildlife are treated and that there is no permanent damage to them,” said Stofile.

Stofile hailed the collaboration and quick response which had ensured that the oil spill was minimised.

“A joint operations committee involving various stakeholders greatly assisted in steering management of the oil spill containment and extraction, rescue and clean-up of affected wildlife, regular inspections of the affected oceans environment for traces of oil spread, as well as settlement of costs responsibilities related to damage suffered and operations activated,” Stofile said.


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The Ford Raptor which will now also be built at Ford's Pretoria plant, featured in news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Ford Raptor which will now also be built at Ford’s Pretoria plant

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel on Thursday (18 July) welcomed automaker Ford’s announcement that it will be creating 1,200 jobs at its plant in Pretoria.

“The Minister has welcomed the announcement by Ford South Africa that it will be creating 1,200 jobs at its Silverton Plant in Pretoria, Gauteng. The announcement is as a result of a R3 billion investment commitment by the company earlier to expand capacity at the Silverton plant,” said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The American automaker in November 2017 announced it would expand production capacity at its South African plant in order to meet growing demand.

The expansion of the plant, said Patel, means greater volumes of production and the addition of a new model to the range with the production of the Ranger Raptor model starting this year.

Third shift to meet export demand

In order to meet the growing export demand, Ford SA will be adding a third shift, meaning they will be in operation 24 hours a day.

In a statement, the automaker said the Silverton plant now has installed capacity to produce up to 168,000 Rangers and Everests per year – an increase of 44,000 vehicles prior to the expansion, and a substantial 58,000 more than the original Ranger production capacity when this programme commenced in 2011.

Patel commended government’s Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP).

“The APDP and the recently announced Automotive Masterplan has a clear programme of doubling employment in the sector. This announcement by Ford SA is indication that these ambitions are in progress.”

Patel noted that where industrial policy is correctly implemented in close collaboration with key stakeholders, it bears tangible results.

He said jobs are going to have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people.

The dti in November 2018 unveiled details of the approved extension of the APDP from 2021 to 2035, with amendments in support of the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM).

The APDP was fully implemented by January 2013, with a view to steer the automotive industry towards producing about 1.2 million vehicles by 2020 with attendant expansion of the domestic supplier base. The programme is due to expire in 2020.

Currently, over 400 vehicles are assembled at the Silverton plant on a daily basis.


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Namport Social Investment Fund donates science kits to Flamingo Secondary School, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Namport Social Investment Fund donates science kits to Flamingo Secondary School

The Flamingo Secondary School in Walvis Bay recently received a donation of science kits valued at N$34,000 (R34,000), courtesy of the Namport Social Investment Fund (NSIF).

When joining the school last year, the principal Mrs Tessa Goagoses realised the need for science kits for the Grade 10 Physical Science learners during their practical examinations and that the lack of these essential tools were a stumbling block to the progress of the learners.

It was then that she approached NSIF requesting assistance in procuring the science kits. “And they not only…


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The Hon Fikile April Mbalula, Minister of Transport, South Africa, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO HQ, London, on 15 July to deposit the instrument of accession to the 2010 HNS Convention. Picture: IMO ©, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Hon Fikile April Mbalula (right), Minister of Transport, South Africa, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO HQ, London, on 15 July to deposit the instrument of accession to the 2010 HNS Convention. Picture: IMO ©

IMO reported on 15 July that South Africa had become the latest country to accede to a key compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship.

When in force, the treaty will provide a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes transported by sea, including oil and chemicals, and covers not only pollution damage, but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of or damage to property.

Compensation fund

An HNS Fund will be established, to pay…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Left to right – The Hon Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Prime Minister Theresa May and Dr Joseph Garcia, Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar at No 10 Downing Street where they gathered for talks on 17 July. Picture: Government of Gibraltar, Crown Copyright 2019 ©, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Left to right – The Hon Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Prime Minister Theresa May and Dr Joseph Garcia, Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar at No 10 Downing Street where they gathered for talks on 17 July. Picture: Government of Gibraltar, Crown Copyright 2019 ©

The Hon Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, met Prime Minister Theresa May in 10 Downing Street yesterday afternoon (17 July).

Chief Minister Picardo was accompanied by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and the Attorney General Michael Llamas.

Discussion centred around the tanker GRACE 1 and Brexit issues.

The Chief Minister thanked Mrs May for her unwavering and solid support for Gibraltar during her time in office. He recalled that she had received him and Dr Garcia for the first time on the day that she was appointed Prime Minister only hours before meeting HM the Queen in July 2016.

In turn the Prime Minister thanked Mr Picardo for the sensible, level-headed and pragmatic approach that the Gibraltar Government has adopted in relation to Brexit.

The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister continued their meetings with officials into the evening.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Port of Ngqura Container Terminal, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Ngqura Container Terminal

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) says that the recent go-slow action taken at the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape, against which Transnet has taken out an interdict, is not the only cause for a backlog of cargo, especially containerised citrus fruit, but is the result of poor management and problems with equipment.

General Secretary Steve Harris issued a statement saying that equipment was constantly breaking down while the inclusion of ships with own gear calling at the port was also a factor, as this interfered with the movement of port cranes.

Harris said that among the employees that have been suspended are those working in critical positions. Six of these employees work in the refrigerator division which is currently experiencing high volumes as it is mid0citrus season. Two others work in the control room, he said, and the combi9ned effect of these suspension is having a “devastating negative impact.”

The dispute with the workers at the port is centred on claims that Transnet has failed to pay performance bonuses after set targets were not achieved.

Transnet obtains court interdict

On Sunday 14 July Transnet announced that it had obtained a court interdict “to stop the illegal strike action by employees at the Ngqura Container Terminal.”

Interestingly, the interdict also orders workers to increase performance levels at the port, after the port had been hit by a go-slow two weeks earlier.

The order by the Labour Court in Port Elizabeth was issued to all operations employees at Ngqura Container Terminal.

According to Transnet operations had been disrupted by malicious radio interference, but since the suspension of 11 employees last week, radio interference had stopped and operational performance has improved.

The company said that operations at the Durban Container Terminal and Cape Town Container Terminal have also improved.

“Transnet is aware of the challenges that this has caused to various industries across the country.

“We are working around the clock to find solutions, including prioritising urgent cargo. We are also continuing to refine our contingency plans in order to minimise the impact to the economy,” Mohammed Mahomedy, Transnet Acting Group Chief Executive said.


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Seabed Geosolutions, which is a joint venture between Fugro and CGG, has been awarded a 4D ocean bottom node (OBN) monitor survey in West Africa for a major oil company.

Seabed GeoSolutions banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The project, for which the data is expected to be acquired over a two-month period during the third quarter of 2019, will cover 151 square kilometres in water depths up to 600 metres. The ocean bottom nodes will be deployed by remotely operated vehicles.

“We are excited to secure another survey for this repeat customer, creating a better understanding of the development of their reservoir,” said Stephan Midenet, CEO of Seabed Geosolutions. “It will secure backlog continuity for our CASE Abyss® crew and the Hugin Explorer vessel.”

Seabed GeoSolutions banner featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The JV between Fugro and CGG collects geophysical data on the seabed through an array of imaging technologies for oil and gas companies, focused on the development and production phases of their fields.

In 2012 CGGVeritas (CGG) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Fugro to acquire Fugro’s Geoscience Division, excluding the existing Multi-Client library and nodes businesses. As a result CGGVeritas became a fully integrated Geoscience company occupying a leading position in the fast growing high-end integrated geology and geophysics and reservoir market.


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MSC Gayane. Picture: Hamburg Hafen, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Gayane.     Picture: Hamburg Hafen

MSC GAYANE, the 9,962-TEU container ship operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) that was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Control Protection officers in Philadelphia on 17 June, has been released back into MSC use after the Swiss/Italian company paid US$10 million in cash and $40 million in bond to return the ship back into service.

Having paid the necessary bail money MSC Gayane is now heading back to…..


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This was a South Africa search & rescue exercise being conducted off Table Bay. Picture courtesy: NSRI, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIP maritime news
This was a South Africa search & rescue exercise being conducted off Table Bay. Picture courtesy: NSRI

South Africa’s Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has facilitated the signing of the Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement by the Angolan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“The objective of the Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement is to ensure cooperation between signatories – Angola, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa – in pulling together resources to improve maritime search and rescue in the region.

“The signing of the agreement was a watershed moment, as Angola was the last outstanding signatory,” the Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

The IMO, as a United Nations specialised agency, has a chief objective of setting international standards for safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping.

The IMO Council’s 122nd session is currently underway at the organisation’s headquarters in London, until 19 July 2019.

Following that engagement, Mbalula met with the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of Federal Transport Authority, Dr Abdullah Belhhaif Al Nuaimi.

The Minister and his counterpart discussed the strengthening of relations, the future of the maritime industry, common goals in the sector, opportunities for collaboration and World Maritime Day Parallel Events. –


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NRZ passenger train, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
NRZ passenger train

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)‘s engineering unit, Inter-Rail-Tech is looking to secure several lucrative contracts in the manufacture of mining equipment and maintenance, from the Mining, Engineering and Transport exhibition (Mine Entra) which commenced today (Wednesday) in Bulawayo.

Inter-Rail-Tech is situated in Bulawayo, the main railway centre of Zimbabwe, and operates from NRZ’s mechanical workshops in the city. A spokesman said the company will be focusing on deals with other small-scale and well-established mining companies for the manufacture and servicing of mining equipment and spares.

Speaking to the newspaper New, NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika said:…


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IMB piracy incidence map off West Africa for Jan-May 2019, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
IMB piracy incidence map off West Africa for Jan-May 2019

The seas around West Africa remain the world’s most dangerous for piracy, the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest report reveals.

Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage onboard or kidnapped for ransom worldwide so far this year (before this week’s incident involving a Turkish ship and seafarers), 62 were captured in the Gulf of Guinea – off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.

Worldwide, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) recorded 78 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first half of 2019, compared with…


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Sonangol headquarters building, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Angola’s national oil company Sonangol will have the right to take a 20% stake in future oil discoveries in order to protect it after the restructuring process.

That’s the word from the Minister of Mineral Resources and Oil, Diamantino Azevedo, who was quoted by Bloomberg as saying the goal is to compensate Sonangol after the company had “lost” its role of regulator and oilfield concessionaire to the newly created National Oil, Gas and Fuels Agency (ANPG).

According to Azevedo, the review of the Local Content Law, which is underway, will enable…


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Youth Orientation Programme launched in Durban for port city youth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) launched its flagship student exposure programme in KwaZulu-Natal this week, giving youth residing in South Africa’s port cities access to the world of operations, maritime logistics and the blue economy.

Titled AIM and scheduled over tertiary holidays, the programme invites first and second year tertiary students to visit TPT operations with the intention of exposing them to various disciplines available in a port environment.

This is to enable them to make informed career choices of professions available in the marine logistics sector.

For participating students, the programme is not a once-off opportunity as they will be expected to return for a few days during their tertiary holidays until they complete their area of study and graduate.

Youth Orientation Programme launched in Durban for port city youth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The overall programme orientates the students on the entire integrated Transnet supply value chain across all divisions while they will also shadow business specialists in carrying out their duties. The approach is intended to assist students link theory with the practical environment while giving them a platform not only to innovate but to also realise their true potential.

“The AIM initiative is about collaborating with the youth in providing future-proof solutions while giving them value in return. This is a group of technologically savvy, modern-day, digitally–aware young people that will assist us to evolve with the times,” said TPT’s Acting General Manager for Human Resources, Brenda Magqwaka.

Youth Orientation Programme launched in Durban for port city youth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Magqwaka added that it was important for young people in port cities to know all there is to know about where they come from and the type of jobs available locally.

Following their participation in the programme, the students said that their exposure to TPT’s operations was eye opening and changed the way they viewed the business, something they could not have planned for or imagined.

Because of the specialised and complex nature of the business, they suggested it would assist them spending more time as part of the exposure, say a week, as opposed to three days. True to being technologically savvy, they would like to see TPT set up a portal that would be a single point of application for students intending applying and completing their internship with TPT so that this process is seamless.

TPT has previously participated in several initiatives for both boys and girls but decided to amalgamate the concepts into an all-encompassing program that will pay specific attention to the emerging blue economy.

The Eastern Cape and Western Cape regions are set to implement at the next run of tertiary holidays.

Youth Orientation Programme launched in Durban for port city youth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


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ONE Line delivering two containers of recycled clthing for cyclone victimes in East Africa, reported in Africa PORTRS & SHIPS maritime news

The Japanese Ocean Network Express (ONE) has provided free transportation of two containers full of recycled clothing from Yokohama, Japan to Durban, to aid the cyclone victims in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

The recycled clothing was supplied by UNIQLO, a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer.

On 9 July, Mr Bentley Namasasu of the…


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Creating Design exhibition banner, shown in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

With cruising becoming more and more popular across the globe, it is as important as ever to focus on trends and innovations that will make the cruise experience even more unique and inspiring. Design is a crucial factor when it comes to creating dreams for consumer and brand equity for cruise lines.

As the cruise orderbook hits a record high of 118 ships with a total order value of over $69 billion, it’s no wonder cruise lines are taking the opportunity to invest in developing their fleet through introducing new passenger technologies and designing impressive passenger spaces.

Creating spaces which evoke a sense of brand identity is key for…


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Paksoy 1, asttacked by pirates 16 July 2019 off coast of Nigeria. Picture by Gisa Shipbuilders, reported by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Paksoy 1. Picture by Frank Behrends / Gisa Shipbuilders

In breaking news, pirates operating from the region of the Niger Delta have attacked a Turkish general cargo ship, PAKSOY 1 (IMO 9081992), and have abducted ten members of the crew.

The attack took place early on Tuesday morning, 16 July as the vessel was sailing between Doula in Cameroon and Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. Paksoy 1 was carrying no cargo.

Another eight members of the crew remained with the vessel and are reported to be safe. There is no immediate knowledge of the whereabouts of the abducted 10 crew or the pirates except it is assumed they fled into the shelter of the Niger Delta.

In a brief statement issued by the operators of the Paksoy 1,the Turkish company of Kadioglu Denizcilik said that before leaving the ship the pirates had damaged the ship’s communication and navigation equipment.

“Our efforts continue for the safe and sound release of all of our personnel,” the company said.

A local report claimed that the Ghanaian Navy had attempted to intervene and negotiate with the pirates before they left the ship with the abducted seafarers, but this has not been confirmed.

Meanwhile, a Turkish government spokesman Omer Celik said that foreign ministry and intelligence services were following the issue closely and “intensely working” on it.

Paksoy 1 was built in 1997 by the Turkish Gisa Shipbuilders company of Istanbul, the port where the ship is registered. The class society for the vessel is Bureau Veritas.


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Port of Lobito, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Lobito

Chinese firms have expressed interest in helping increase the use of the strategic Benguela Railway and Lobito Corridor with neighbouring countries.

The Benguela Railway (CFB), which connects the Port of Lobito with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been refurbished along its entire length from the port to the DRC border, although some rehabilitation work is required in the DRC to connect the existing line with the rest of the DRC railway network.

Nevertheless, the line has successfully carried trainloads of cargo from the DRC to the port at Lobito.

The CFB railway can also connect via the DRC with Zambia and Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa.

Following a visit to Benguela province, the Chinese ambassador to Angola, Gong Tao disclosed that several Chinese firms were interested in becoming involved with reopening the CFB and the Port of Lobito to the international market.

Angola, showing route of the Benguela Railway from the port of Lobito across central Angola to the DRC border (marked in red), reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Angola, showing route of the Benguela Railway from the port of Lobito across central Angola to the DRC border (marked in red), Green is a proposed new rail connection direct with Zambia and its Copperbelt

The ambassador said he considered the Port of Lobito and the Benguela Railway as ideally positioned to provide the necessary logistical services of central Angola and its neighboring countries.

He said that amongst the Chinese firms interested in establishing partnerships with the companies making up the Lobito Corridor is the China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), which carried out the facelift of Port of Lobito in 2013. Other firms included Cosco and Sinotrans, he said.

The province of Benguela is the first province to be visited by the Chinese diplomat since his accreditation on 9 May 2019. He was accompanied by staff from the embassy and a number of Chinese business people.


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NSRI Port Elizabeth Station rescue vessel Spirit of Toft , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
NSRI Port Elizabeth Station rescue vessel Spirit of Toft

Early on Monday morning (06h43), 15 July, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Port Elizabeth duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft to rendezvous with a bulk carrier off-shore of the Port of Port Elizabeth, reports NSRI station commander Ian Gray.

The reason was to evacuate a 47 year old Filipino crewman who had suffered a laceration to his head.

On Sunday night the NSRI Port Elizabeth had been placed on alert to prepare for the patient evacuation. It was confirmed that the patient was in a stable condition and not in any imminent danger but the NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) monitored his progress during the night.

On Monday morning on our arrival at the ship two NSRI rescue swimmers were transferred onto the bulk carrier and the patient, in a stable condition, was transferred onto the sea rescue craft and brought into the Port where he was taken to hospital by their ship’s agent for further treatment.


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ONE's new Africa India Middle East (AIM) service, feayured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ONE’s new Africa India Middle East (AIM) service

Ocean Network Express (ONE), which combines the ships and services of MOL, NYK and “K” Line, has announced details of a new service with direct coverage between Africa, India and the Middle East, to be known as AIM.

The new product will broaden ONE’s existing global coverage by offering direct port calls between West Africa, South Africa and key locations in West Asia.

The AIM Service, launched through a joint cooperation with…


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Carnival Vista successfully loaded on the deck of BOKA Vanguard. Picture: Boskalis, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Vista successfully loaded on the deck of BOKA Vanguard.      Picture: Boskalis

‎Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has successfully loaded the giant 322-metre long cruise ship CARNIVAL VISTA on its semi-submersible heavy lift vessel BOKA Vanguard and transported it to a shipyard facility in Freeport, Bahamas for a unique dry docking operation.

To read our earlier report made ahead of this taking place CLICK HERE

Commencing last Saturday 13 July at sunrise…..

BOKA Vanguard with Carnival Vista on board arrives in Freeport. Picture: Boskalis, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
BOKA Vanguard with Carnival Vista on board arrives in Freeport.     Picture: Boskalis



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Africa map of flags, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

With the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) expected to reshape the economy, South Africa still has a lot of homework to do to in finalising its tariff schedule related to the agreement, says Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel.

The Minister’s comments follow on the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), which was held last week 7–8 July 2019.

The AfCFTA was officially launched into its implementation phase at a Special AU Summit in Niamey, Niger, after…


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Port statistics for the month of June 2019, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

The three leading ports in terms of cargo throughput measured in tonnes were once again Richards Bay, Durban and Saldanha Bay in that order. Then followed Cape Town, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Basy and East London. Total number of ship calls was 785 for an average gross tonnage of 37,122-gt.

Details of the port throughputs, ships berthed and containers numbers handled can be seen in the Tables below.

For the first time we include details of motor vehicles handled per port, measured in units. These will include imports and exports as well as earth-moving and other similar ro-ro vehicles.

Total cargo handled for the month of June amounted to…


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Maersk Cape Coast approaches the berth at the MPS Termina 3 in Tema, Ghana. Picture courtesy: MPS, as rfeported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Cape Coast approaches the berth at the MPS Termina 3 in Tema, Ghana. Picture courtesy: MPS

After three years of preparation and construction the first container ship, MAERSK CAPE COAST has come alongside one of the two berths at Tema’s Terminal 3. This event took place last week, on 3 July.

Two berths have been officially opened and handed over at the new terminal, which eclipses anything the Ghana port of Tema has had until now.

A total of 1,427 containers (2,131 TEU) were discharged from the first ship and 730 containers (1,150 TEU) loaded.

Maersk Cape Coast is set to be remembered for years to come as the first ship to be handled at the new port terminal and also because the container ship has a special significance for Tema in that she underwent her official naming ceremony while calling at the port in 2011.

“I was there in 2011 and I remember very well that day. What a symbolic coincidence! I hope that this will bring as much luck to our new terminal and team as the ship has had over the past eight years,” said CEO of Meridian Port Services, Mohamed Samara.

The delivery of the first two berths on time marks the end of Phase 1 of the port development. Samara praised the construction and transition teams who had overseen the construction and the period of moving the existing business to its present location.

As workers, contractors, customs, representatives of the Ghana Port and Harbour Authority and other Ghanaian authorities gathered to witness the arrival of the ship a symbolic key was handed to the terminal operations team, signifying that the construction phase was over and operations were up and running

“This project still remains a part of the Ghana Port Master plan and we are glad that the whole team put our heads together and our hands on the table to realise this engineering masterpiece today,” the CEO said.

“I wish the operations team the best of success because the engineering team has done its job. It is now the turn of the operations team to operate it as attractively as possible to make it the number container terminal in terms of volume, cargo throughput in the sub region. The challenge is for us to stand tall as the leading transshipment hub in the years to come.”

The celebrations have not meant that construction work has come to an end. The third berth is due to be delivered in February 2020, four months ahead of schedule, with berth 4 to be built by the end of that year.

When the 4th berth is delivered Terminal 3 will have 1.4 kilometres of quay with a depth alongside of 16 metres. Behind the quay is a cargo working area that measures 127 hectares.

Tema MPS Terminal 3, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tema MPS Terminal 3


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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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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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