Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 28 July 2019

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002
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Andalucia Star Picture: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Andalucia Star   Picture: Keith Betts

Another of the refrigerated cargo ships (reefers)to call at South African ports this winter is the 12,714-dwt, Bahamas-flagged ANDALUCIA STAR (IMO 8816170) seen here arriving in Durban during June. Built in 1991 this is a UK-owned ship managed by Siem Ship Management of Sutton, UK, a firm that operates with a fleet of 16 ships and is a member of the Siem Industries Inc group of companies that includes Subsea7, Siem Offshore AS and Star Reefers. The 158.5 metre long, 24m wide Andalucia Star has a draught of 9 metres and is equipped to carry conventional refrigerated cargo on 5,134 ISO pallets in the ship’s four holds and 145 40ft containers on deck. This picture is by Keith Betts



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Images of HMS Montrose, accompanying Stena Important and Sea Ploeg in the Gulf yesterday, 25 July. Photos: MoD Crown Copyright, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Images of HMS Montrose, accompanying Stena Important and Sea Ploeg in the Gulf yesterday, 25 July. Photos: MoD Crown Copyright

HMS Montrose, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

HMS Montrose escorting SDtena Important and Sea Ploeg through the Strait of Hormuz. Picture MOD.

The Royal Navy frigate HMS MONTROSE (F236) currently on station in the Persian Gulf has been called on for escort and shadow escort duties since the incident involving the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards seizing a British-registered ship, STENA IMPERO while sailing through the Strait of Hormuz last week.

In these three images taken yesterday (Thursday 25 July) HMS Montrose can be seen accompanying another Stena vessel, the Bermuda-registered tanker STENA IMPORTANT (IMO 9667497) and a second oil and chemical product tanker, the Cayman Island-registered SEA PLOEG (IMO 9724453) through the strait.

Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are members of the British Overseas Territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

Paul Ridgway


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PRASA Spanish-built locos that will go on auction in September, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PRASA Spanish-built locos that will go on auction in September

South Africa’s Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says implementing the interventions announced during the department’s budget vote to turn PRASA around are among several tasks that await newly appointed Director General Alec Moemi.

This includes expediting the setting up of a Steering Committee and a Ministerial War Room that has been set up to ensure that PRASA [Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa] put’s back on track trains that are safe and reliable.

Mbalula was briefing journalists on the appointment of the department’s new accounting officer at the Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The minister recently went on an early morning train ride…


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

West Africa. US Navy chief visits Ghana; the Ghana Navy at 60

Pictured in Sekondi, Ghana, on 23 July Admiral James G Foggo III, centre right, Commander of US Naval Forces Europe and Africa, touring the bridge of the Ghanaian navy ship GNS CHEMLE (P 36) during a site visit to Sekondi, Ghana.

At the time Admiral Foggo was in Ghana to discuss the strong military relationship between the US and Ghana and to emphasize each country’s commitment to the security of the Gulf of Guinea and how ensuring maritime security can lead to prosperity for the region and African nations.

His visit coincided with the Ghana Navy’s 60th anniversary and the International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC), hosted by Ghana. At the same time the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7)was visiting to the country as part of its 2019 African Partnership Station deployment.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck/Released. USN ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck/Released. USN ©

US Fifth Fleet operations NW Indian Ocean

Our photograph taken in the Arabian Gulf on 22 July shows Sailors and Marines watching a connected replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS BIG HORN (T-AO 198) aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS HARPERS FERRY (LSD 49).

Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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The new Beaver 50 dredger 'Vigilence' that has been delivered in Douala, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The new Beaver 50 dredger ‘Vigilence’ that has been delivered in Douala

In an effort to become independent of outside dredging requirements, the Port of Douala has taken delivery of a new Beaver 50 cutter suction dredger to be utilised in maintaining water depth levels alongside port quays and wharves in the Cameroon port.

The new dredger has been named VIGILENCE.

The Douala autonomous port intends building on its fleet of dredging vessels and equipment, according to a statement issued by the port.

The Beaver 50 was due to be complemented this week with a variety of other equipment and later this year by a trailing suction hopper dredger TSHD 3000 which is under construction at the IHC company shipyard in The Netherlands.

Chantal Biya when previously in service, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Chantal Biya when previously in service

In addition the port’s CHANTAL BIYA grab hopper dredger in being refurbished in the port’s workshops and will be returned to the fleet once completed.

Chantal Biya (IMO 9150004) was built in 1997 at the Neue Germersheimer Werft, Germersheim but has been laid up since 2014.

Port officials also said that IHC Easydredge type suction dredger is to be acquired soon for Douala-Bonabéri port.


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USS Boxer. Picture: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck US Navy, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
USS Boxer. Picture: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keypher Strombeck US Navy

US military sources say that a device costing little to operate brought down an Iranian drone recently.

The ‘weapon’, a X-MADIS anti-drone electronic jamming system device was mounted on the deck of the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS BOXER (LHD-4). At the “cost of a can of gas” US marines used the system to track and cause the approaching drone to crash into the sea.

Iran has denied that claim that it lost a drone and said…

The X-MADIS Mobile Air Defense Integrated Jamming System. Picture: AVT, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The X-MADIS Mobile Air Defense Integrated Jamming System. Picture: AVT



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Coming the way of the Strait of Hormuz, BW MINDORO,featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Coming the way of the Strait of Hormuz, BW MINDORO

An Isle of Man-registered LPG tanker, BW ELM (9320752) has been escorted by a Royal Navy frigate, HMS Montrose, safely through the Strait of Hormuz and has docked at the port of Mesaieed, Qatar.

The movement of the tanker through the same waters where another tanker was intercepted on 19 July by Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and ordered to Bandar Abbas in an apparent act of retaliation for the detention of the tanker Grace 1 at Gibraltar, came despite warnings from the outgoing UK government to avoid the route.

It appears that BW Elm was not escorted closely but…


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ESPS Navarra, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ESPS Navarra

Warships from three nations have taken part in a counter-piracy surge operation, led by Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 in the Gulf of Aden.

The operation was part of the Republic of Korea-led CTF 151’s mission to deter piracy and to contribute to wider maritime security in the region by focusing shared resources and assets over a prolonged period.

Collaboration between CTF 151, EUNAVFOR’s counter-piracy Task Force and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force ensured…

ROK Dae Jo Yeong, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ROK Dae Jo Yeong



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Welcome the Whales Festival poster, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Every year Humpback whales make an enormous journey of 4000 – 5000km from the freezing polar waters to the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel to mate and to give birth. Ilha de Moçambique is one of very few places in the world where this calving occurs. This makes Ilha a very special place. And to celebrate, this year Ilha will hold their first ‘Welcome the Whales’ Festival.

“We want to share knowledge about humpback whales and engender respect for the whales,” says Gail Woods, Director of Ilha Blue Island Safaris, one of the organisers. “It’s a way to inform tourists and the local community about this marvelous asset and the urgent need to protect it for the future. We want to inspire operators and tourists alike to whale watch responsibly.

“The Festival is a fun and informal way to deliver messages about the importance of marine conservation. Through theatre, dance, art, music and film we want to infuse Ilha with the spirit of collaboration. And together we can love our whales.”

The President of Ilha de Moçambique will officially open the Festival on Saturday 27 July 2019 at 09h00. On the preceding day, there will be a ‘Children’s Day’.

The Festival will run until Sunday 28 July 2019.

Contact Ilha Blue Island Safaris at


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Latimer's Landing viewed from a high point on the West Bank. Picture: TNPA, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Latimer’s Landing viewed from a high point on the West Bank.    Picture: TNPA

The long-awaited revitalisation of the Port of East London’s Latimer’s Landing quayside leisure development has taken a leap forward, with approval granted to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to proceed with demolishing the existing historic structure and to replace it with a modern fit for purpose structure.

Built in the early 1900’s using Karri wood, the jetty on the Buffalo River was closed in 2009 due to the negative impact sea water had had on its structural integrity.

TNPA had to apply to the Eastern Cape Provincial Heritage Resource Authority (ECPHRA) for a permit to demolish the structure because it is older than 60 years and protected under the National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999. This application has now been approved and paves the way for TNPA to proceed with phase 1 of the project which entails demolition and reconstruction.

The site is world-renowned as the place where the prehistoric coelacanth fish was brought to shore, dispelling the accepted belief that it had become extinct.*

Latimer's Landing from the waterside in 2007. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Latimer’s Landing from the waterside in 2007.    Picture: Terry Hutson

“Latimer’s Landing is a unique and valuable asset to our city, but one that has not been optimally utilised in recent years,” said East London Port Manager, Sharon Sijako.

“With the support of our strategic stakeholders and the East London community, we are committed to changing this by redeveloping the jetty and giving the city’s existing basket of tourism and leisure attractions an exciting and extensive makeover.”

Sijako acknowledged that Latimer’s Landing, as the only waterfront and leisure development of its kind in the region, should be a premier tourist attraction that operates for the benefit of the entire region.

In line with its vision of transforming its ports into ‘people’s ports’, TNPA envisages an array of exciting waterfront activities, water-based attractions, and quayside restaurants and coffee shops that will enliven and revitalise the area, drawing steady traffic into the precinct.

TNPA has already commenced with updating the design of the jetty as per ECPHRA permit requirements. The final design and feasibility study are expected by October 2019. Thereafter the tender process will get underway. Once a contractor is appointed, the construction phase is expected to take 12 months.

Phase 2 of the Latimer’s Landing development will focus on escalating the project into a fully-fledged waterfront that contributes positively to the growth of the city’s tourism and leisure industry.

This will involve efforts to revive the prime site as a bustling leisure and entertainment hub, complete with a number of different restaurants and family-friendly water-related leisure activities.

The focus will be on the quayside, adjacent areas as well as upriver on both the East and West Bank sides of the Buffalo River. A more extensive proposal detailing the implementation and management of this exciting development is currently being developed and will be made public soon.

In order for leisure craft to continue operating in front of the main restaurant area, TNPA installed a cam-dock floating jetty as an interim measure. A private charter company currently offers boat rides and whale watching excursions from this jetty.

Sijako added: “We are pleased to report that the proposed revitalisation of Latimer’s Landing enjoys the full and enthusiastic support of numerous stakeholders in the city with whom we will continue to work closely towards the overall development of the city.

“These include the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and its various agencies as well as the East London IDZ, both of whom we recently signed an MoU with.”

Ms Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ms Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer

* Latimer’s Landing is named in honour of a former curator of the East London Museum, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who in 1938 was called to the harbour to examine a 5ft strange looking fish brought to shore on Captain Hendrik Goosen’s fishing boat, Nerine. Recognising that this was something unusual she took the fish back to the museum for closer examination and to arrange for a part-time taxidermist to preserve it. She also wrote to her friend JLB Smith, a senior chemistry lecturer and amateur ichthyologist at Grahamstown’s Rhodes University, enclosing a drawing.

In Grahamstown JLB Smith said afterwards that it was as though “a bomb seemed to burst in my brain.” He recognised that the drawing was of a coelacanth, thought to have gone extinct more than 340 million years ago. It was as though a dinosaur had suddenly been found alive and well and roaming the earth.

Professor JLB Smith, as he had by then become, set off years later on a quest to find more of the coelacanths, which he finally did in the Comoros.

Since those days coelacanth’s have been found living in colonies off the Comoros islands, off the KZN Sodwana coast and in Indonesian waters and are probably more widespread than realised.

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who was born in 1907, died in 2004 aged 97.


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AMSOL banner, displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Specialist marine solutions provider AMSOL is a finalist in the ‘2019 Gender Mainstreaming Awards’ in the category of ‘Women Empowerment in the Workplace’ for its progress in sustainably increasing the representation of women working at sea in its bunker barge fleet from 8% to 20%, and for effectively using an Able Seaman (AB) Trainee Programme to support inclusivity.

Globally, only 2% of the maritime industry workforce comprises women both at sea and ashore. Since it acquired the business of SMIT Amandla Marine in December 2016, AMSOL has been able to increase representation of women in the workforce from 8% to 14% in just 3 years through a deliberately changed approach to internship programmes, cadet schemes and recruitment practices.

AMSOL bunker barge at work, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In its bunker barge fleet of three barges, which operate in the Ports of Durban and Richards Bay, 20% of the workforce is now comprised of women; 30% of whom are working at Officer (Management) level, with one qualified as a Barge Master.

Specifically for the bunker barge operation, the AB Trainee programme supports the talent pipeline and enables women to enter the workforce and then move up the ranks.

Given the shortage of employment opportunities, exposure and sea time in the maritime sector, the training programme has filled a great need – and with its shift system, offers women greater work/life balance than that of traditional seagoing roles, while still providing an opportunity to progress in this male dominated industry.

The programme was designed to include all statutory training combined with seagoing experience required to achieve a Port Operations Certificate of Competency. Of the 12 trainees currently on the AB Trainee programme, five are women, and an additional three previous participants were promoted in recent weeks.

The AB Trainee programme is managed on a day-to-day basis by the AMSOL Human Resources/Crewing Department in Durban. They work closely with the Fleet Operations Manager and onboard leadership to ensure effective implementation of the programme; balancing the crewing of shifts to provide adequate exposure for those on the programme.

As an ISO certified company, AMSOL’s HR Management processes, systems and practices comply with high international standards, supporting the effective management of this initiative.

The activities of the bunker barges take place within the harbour as these specialist vessels deliver fuel to vessels calling at the port. It is a high-risk, high skill operation requiring dedicated focus on Safety, Health, Environmental Protection and Quality.

AMSOL women working on the bunker barges, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Providing employment in this way and sustaining a more diverse work environment at sea has empowered these women, the majority of whom are breadwinners. This is also impacted by the fact that permanent employees of AMSOL own 12% of the company and benefit as shareholders too.

AMSOL’s progress reflects a changing maritime industry and a different approach that highlights the power and impact of deliberate implementation of policies and practices that support inclusivity. And the company anticipates a return on investment in the future as a sustainable, diverse talent pipeline thrives.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) declared the World Maritime Day theme for 2019 as ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’, and the 2019 Day of the Seafarer ran with a global ‘#Iamonboard with Gender Equality’ campaign to raise awareness about the importance of inclusivity in the sector.

The theme gives IMO the opportunity to work with various maritime stakeholders towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 5, to foster an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes and to encourage more conversation for gender equality in the maritime space.

AMSOL is a sponsor of the South African International Maritime Institute’s upcoming event – ‘Women Dive In! Career Opportunities in the Maritime Sector’.


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Kenton-on-Sea: Celebrating the launch of the Alternative Livelihoods Project for fishers in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape are, from left, FADI project manager Sulaiman Appoles, Ekuphumleni Co-op secretary Busisiwe Tobi, co-op chair Mzamo Marwanqana, fisherman Willie Peters, and SAIMI research associate Akhona Baninzi, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenton-on-Sea: Celebrating the launch of the Alternative Livelihoods Project for fishers in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape are, from left, FADI project manager Sulaiman Appoles, Ekuphumleni Co-op secretary Busisiwe Tobi, co-op chair Mzamo Marwanqana, fisherman Willie Peters, and SAIMI research associate Akhona Baninzi

Entrepreneurship training is bringing a ray of hope to subsistence fishing communities in marginalised coastal areas of the Eastern and Western Cape, equipping them with the business skills to better operate in the fishing sector as well as accessing alternative income opportunities beyond fishing.

That’s according to the SA International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), which says that the Alternative Livelihoods Project by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute (FADI), funded by SAIMI, will also provide training in construction skills, enabling fishers not to be solely reliant on increasingly uncertain income from fishing, and easing pressure on South Africa’s declining fish stocks.

Launched in June-July in Ocean View (Cape Town), Kenton-on-Sea (Eastern Cape) and Saldanha Bay, the project will benefit up to 90 fishers, 30 in each area, with a wider positive impact on…


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Damen-built Guardian 9, delivered to NIgeria, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen-built Guardian 9

Damen Shipyards Group announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it has delivered two additional Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 3307 vessels configured as patrol boats to a leading West African offshore services supplier, Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited (HIOSL).

This was achieved just five months after the contracts were signed.

The handing over of Guardian 9 and Guardian 10 adds to the existing FCS 3307 Patrol fleet that HIOSL has been operating for the past five years and certainly acts as a powerful testimonial to the Damen FCS as a versatile concept capable of effectively undertaking a wide variety of roles.

With a length of 33 metres, the FCS 3307 Patrol shares the same attributes as the other variants available.

As a result of its Axe-Bow hull form it provides excellent manoeuvrability and first-class seakeeping combined with superb fuel economy and a top speed of 28 knots.

Guardians 9 and 10 are powered by three Caterpillar main engines delivering 3,250 bkW to three fixed pitch propellers via three Reintjes WVS series gearboxes. They have a range of 1,000 nautical miles at full speed and with full complements of six crew and 12 security personnel they will be able to remain at sea for up to four weeks, in and around Nigeria’s coastal and offshore oil fields.

As privately-owned vessels they have no offensive capability apart from the security personnel on board and their equipment, however they are well defended. The bridges are bullet proof and armoured ‘citadels’ within will protect non-combatants in the event of fire being exchanged.

The two new vessels have not entirely left behind their fast crew supplier origins. Like their sisterships, each has a 75m² cargo deck aft rated at 2.5 tonnes / m². This allows them to provide an express service for the delivery of urgently needed equipment and spares.

Additional equipment specified by HIOSL includes thermal imaging sets, diesel powered SOLAS fast rescue craft and Fuel Trax fuel monitoring systems as well as redundant fuel oil separators to protect the engines and generators from contaminated fuel.

From the first day I walked into Damen head office in Gorinchem in the Netherlands in 2013, we have continually strengthened the relationship between Homeland IOS Ltd and Damen Shipyards and this has enabled us to increase our number of vessels in geometric progression and also improve our technical and operational capabilities”,” said HIOSL’s CEO Dr Louis Ekere.

“The excellent design of the breakthrough axe bow technology together with the modern equipment as well as the technical support that we receive with Damen’s after sales services ensures that our Damen vessels operate at 100% uptime. This allows us to meet our contractual and financial obligations with our partners and relevant stakeholders.”

He said that as the CEO of Homeland IOS, he foresaw a long-lasting relationship between both organisations in Homeland’s short, medium and long term organisation plans.

Guardian 10 patrol boat delivered to Nigeria's Homeland and featuredin Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Guardian 10

About Homeland IOS

Homeland IOS Ltd was founded in 2006 to support operations in Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields by providing a wide range of high-quality services using state-of-the-art equipment both at sea and on shore. Thirteen years later, it operates a sizeable fleet that includes fast supply intervention vessels, platform supply vessels, anchor handling tug supply vessels and other offshore support vessels.

It is one of just a few indigenous private maritime security companies in Nigeria with a valid memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Navy for the provision of security services and has received an award for exceptional services from the United States of America Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security Services.


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Ebrahim Patel, SA Trade & Industry Minister, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ebrahim Patel

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel says that government remains committed to working with business to achieve national goals.

“As government, we recognise the critical role that business, both big and small, plays in growing the economy of this country and creating job opportunities. The new administration has placed an even stronger emphasis on the partnerships between business and labour, and between government and its social partners,” said the Minister.

Speaking at a business interactive session hosted by Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) in Sandton on Monday, Patel said more needs to be done to better the relationships between government and business in order to ensure economic growth.

The engagement — which was also attended by…


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HMS Montrose, the only major Royal Navy ship in the Gulf region, with a second ship HMS Duncan heading that way. Analysts say at least four ships will be necessary to escort ships through the strait, with the other two possibly coming from European navies. Above picture MoD, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Montrose, the only major Royal Navy ship in the Gulf region, with a second ship HMS Duncan heading that way. Analysts say at least four ships will be necessary to escort ships through the strait, with the other two possibly coming from European navies. Above picture MoD

The British Foreign Secretary said on Monday (22 July) that the UK will create a European-led maritime protection mission to protect shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking in parliament Jeremy Hunt described the seizure of the Swedish-owned, UK-flagged tanker STENA IMPERO as an act of “state piracy” which he called unacceptable aggression.

“Under international law Iran had no right to obstruct the ship’s passage — let alone board her. It was therefore an act of state piracy,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament.

“We will now seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region,” Mr Hunt said.

This followed discussions described as “constructive” that Britain has had with a number of countries over the past 48 hours.

This development also follows a statement by the Defence Secretary Tobias Ellwood who agreed that the Royal Navy was too small to manage the UK’s interests across the globe.


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One of six 72-wagon trains that transport chrome ore is being loaded by a Front-End Loader at Transnet Port Terminals’ Pendoring Inland Terminal in Britz, North West for export through Richards Bay and most of the commodity is bound for China., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of six 72-wagon trains that transport chrome ore is being loaded by a Front-End Loader at Transnet Port Terminals’ Pendoring Inland Terminal in Britz, North West for export through Richards Bay and most of the commodity is bound for China.


The first inland terminal of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) exceeded its monthly average throughput, peaking to 100,000 tons of chrome in June, a feat last achieved in 2017.

The Pendoring Inland Terminal is situated in Britz, a town in the North West province employing over 20 permanent workers in its front–end loader operation which was set-up to encourage more export volumes.

An additional nine indirect jobs support this terminal operation (volumes dependent) – through a two-shift system that the terminal makes use of.

There are currently six 72-wagon trains commuting to Richards Bay weekly, servicing chrome ore miners – both emerging and established.

According to Kwazi Mabaso, TPT General Manager for Bulk and Breakbulk in Richards Bay, “The investments TPT made four years ago in setting up this facility in line with its diversification strategy, is yielding benefits.”

He added that the terminal averaged about 90,000 tons generally in a single month and that the June peak was encouraging to both TPT as well as the customers they service.

The Pendoring Inland Terminal is a collaboration between two Transnet operating divisions. TPT manages the offloading of cargo from the tipper trucks coming from the mines onto the stockpiles which it also manages on a day to day.

It then loads the cargo according to the planning schedule on the Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) trains that move the cargo to the port in Richards Bay. The majority of the cargo handled at the terminal is bound for China.

The terminal has seen steady year on year growth, achieving 800,000 tons of volume for the 2018/19 financial year, more than 1000% higher than when it was started operation in 2015.

In his appeal to employees, Mabaso emphasised the need for consistency which would grow the business and in turn, create much needed employment opportunities for locals. He also urged employees to take advantage of study opportunities available internally in order to enhance their career growth opportunities.

The Pendoring Inland Terminal is one of three inland terminals operated by TPT, the other two being Newcon in KwaZulu-Natal and Lehatlha in the Northern Cape, set up in line with the manganese expansion programme.

Among other things, the establishment of the terminal was to give emerging miners access to international markets, integrate the supply value chain and to increase opportunities for cargo handling.


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A Grindrod loco body mounted on a truck for transportation to the seaport. Picture: Grindrod Rail
A Grindrod loco body mounted on a truck for transportation to the seaport.   Picture: Grindrod Rail

On Sunday, 14 July 2019 twenty locomotives arrived back at the Port of Durban from Freetown in Sierra Leone.

Owned by South Africa’s Grindrod Limited (Grindrod), the JSE listed Freight and Financial services company, the 20 diesel-electric locomotives had been contracted in 2012 to haul iron ore from Tonkilili Mine to Pepel Port in Sierra Leone.

At the end of 2017 mining operations came to a halt and…

This was a Grindrod locomotive immediately prior to being shipped to Sierra Leone, as reported above, rfeported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This was a Grindrod locomotive immediately prior to being shipped to Sierra Leone, as reported above


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South Africa’s Vesconite Bearings has opened an office in New Zealand to assist customers and resellers with their Vesconite low-friction no-grease-required polymer bearing and wear-material requirements.

Eddie Swanepoel, who heads up Vesconite Bearings' new New Zealand office, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Vesconite Bearings has also appointed Eddie Swanepoel (pictured) as Vesconite Bearings New Zealand’s COO.

Swanepoel has a wealth of experience to take to the position. He is knowledgeable about a variety of industrial polymers and their applications, and has been employed in the industry, including for Vesconite Bearings’ South African branch, for 10 years.

The new New Zealand company builds on Vesconite Bearings’ plans to expand the brand’s share of the niche thermopolymer industry.

Swanepoel will build on the existing New Zealand client base in conjunction with resellers and particularly concentrate on New Zealand’s agricultural and marine industries, which have been identified as under-serviced potentially-high-value markets.

Vesconite Bearings has warehouses in the US, UK, Netherlands, South Africa and New Zealand, with stocking distributors in Argentina, Australia, Dubai and Singapore.


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Readers are reminded of the Annual International Sea Sunday Service which will be held at N Shed, [cruise ship terminal], Port of Durban on this coming Sunday, 28 July 2019 at 11h00.
The service will be led by the Revd Marius Schoombie of the NG Church, South Coast congregation, and the service once again has the participation of the SA Army Band.

This interdenominational service is commemorated internationally and aims at paying tribute to seafarers but not only to those ‘who go down to the sea in ships’, but also includes those who work in the ports.

The maritime profession, including those who work on vessels as they cross the oceans and those working in ports, must be one of the most demanding and often dangerous professions, particularly bearing in mind the tragedy of piracy attacks.

The devotion to duty of the maritime rescue services and those who ensure that sea related recreational activities are safe for the community are also focused on.

This Sea Sunday commemoration is therefore very apt. It is being organised by the Durban Port Chaplains with a notable aspect of the service being the blessing of the Port of Durban.

Following the service tea/coffee will be served. All are welcome.

For more information, please contact the Sailors’ Society office and speak to Linda or Yvonne on 031 266 0695.


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Drawing of the Coral Sul FLNG. Image courtesy: Eni, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Drawing of the Coral Sul FLNG. Image courtesy: Eni

Eni has commenced with the installation works on the hull of the CORAL SUL floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) treatment and liquefaction vessel that will be moored offshore in Mozambique.

The unit is part of the Coral South project, which will put in production 450 billion cubic metres of gas from the giant Coral reservoir. The hull is expected to be launched in 2020, in line with the planned production startup of the Coral South Project in 2022.

The Coral Sul FLNG facility will have a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4 million tons per year when completed and will be the first FLNG vessel ever to be deployed in the deep waters of the African continent.

The vessel, which will be 432 metres long…


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ESPS Canarias. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ESPS Canarias.   Picture: Wikipedia Commons

EU NAVFOR Somalia last week officially welcomed the Spanish Navy frigate ESPS CANARIAS (F86) as she began her most recent deployment with Operation ATALANTA off the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden.

ESPS CANARIAS, the last of a group of six Spanish frigates based closely on the US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry class of frigates, will sail with Operation ATALANTA alongside the…

The Italian Navy frigate ITS Antonio Marceglia which will join the Spanish frigate on station off the Horn of Africa. Picture: Wikipedia, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Italian Navy frigate ITS Antonio Marceglia which will join the Spanish frigate on station off the Horn of Africa. Picture: Wikipedia



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Rovos Rail train crossing the Victoria Falls bridge. Picture: Rovos Rail featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Rovos Rail train crossing the Victoria Falls bridge.   Picture: Rovos Rail


Coincidentally, in that same week (16 July) another significant event commenced involving the Benguela Railway….. and much more.

Although this report carries little to do with either maritime or logistical (cargo) matters, we think it of sufficient interest because it opens a whole number of possibilities for the future of freight movement literally across Africa.

On Tuesday 16 July the justifiably famous ROVOS RAIL luxury tour train departed from the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam on a 15-day journey across the width of Africa on a maiden voyage to the Atlantic Ocean port of Lobito in Angola.

The route between Dar es Salaam and the Angolan port city of Lobito, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The route between Dar es Salaam and the Angolan port city of Lobito.    Map: Rovos Rail

Earlier the train had arrived after another successful journey from far-off Cape Town.

En route to the the Atlantic coast the train is crossing Tanzania along the TAZARA railway into Zambia. Before crossing the border passengers will have stayed over at a game lodge in the South Luangwa National Park, while the train continued on to Kapiri Mposhi where the line connects with the great north-south railway that runs from Cape Town all the way into the DRC. Passengers meanwhile fly from Luangwa to Ndola where they rejoin the train before continuing on to visit Lubumbashi and some distance further, stopping to visit a DRC copper mine.

Back on the train Rovos Rail continues westward to the border crossing with Angola at Luau and the start of the 1,350km Benguela Railway all the way to Lobito. On the way there are a number of stops at scenic places and towns for walking tours, before an arrival at the Atlantic coast on 31 July.

A return journey is also scheduled between 2 and 16 August. Back in Dar es Salaam Rovos Rail returns to South Africa on the return leg of another 15-day reverse Cape Town – Dar es Salaam rail journey.

This is believed to be the first time that a passenger train has been able to travel the east-west or indeed the west-east route, and is hopefully not the last.


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Drillship West Gemini. Picture courtesy: Seadrill, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Drillship West Gemini. Picture courtesy: Seadrill

Seadrill, the UK-managed, Bermuda-incorporated deepwater drilling contractor operating worldwide drilling services to the petroleum industry, has announced a contract awarded by an undisclosed customer for its ultra-deepwater drillship WEST GEMINI to drill off West Africa.

The contract is for nine wells and includes three options, each for two wells, and has a total contract value of approximately US$84 million.

Drilling is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2019 continuing through to…


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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 (22h00 Sunday 21 July)  According to reports from the UK a spokesman for the British government has said that a diplomatic solution was being pursued.  British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the incident showed “worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour,” and said that the UK’s response would be “considered, but robust” if Iran did not release Stena Primero. 

In the meantime however the Iranians have added further provocation by flying the Iran flag in position on the tanker as though the vessel is now an Iranian vessel. 

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.

It has since been reported that Mesdar was briefly held before being released to continue her voyage.

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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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section.

Naval News

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