Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 27 October 2019

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Come with us as we report through 2019



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Santa Clar sailing from Durban October 2019, picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Santa Clar at christening in Durban January 2011, picture by Terry Hutsonfeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Top picture: Trevor Jones.      Lower picture: Terry Hutson

Hamburg Süd’s container ship SANTA CLARA (IMO 9444716) sails from Durban recently after a call at the container terminal – the vessel now a part of the greater Maersk/Hamburg Süd fleet and flagged in Copenhagen. The 93,551-dwt ship, built in 2010, is managed and operated by Maersk Line although she retains her former German line appearance.

By way of interest, what special ties has this ship with the port of Durban, if any, you may ask? Well, on 21 January 2011 Santa Clara was officially christened here in this port, on Pier 1 before an assembly of guests from Germany and locally. The second photograph depicts this auspicious occasion with the ship alongside berth 103. Top picture is by Trevor Jones; the lower picture is by Terry Hutson.



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Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Oil spill response in Africa: GI WACAF project
Thirteen years’ success

The main objectives of this conference are to address the challenges of oil spill preparedness and response in the region, to review the progress achieved since the last Regional Conference, and to highlight the benefits of the GI WACAF Project. CLICK HERE.

This event will also be used to agree on a two-year action plan (2020-2021) to strengthen oil spill preparedness and response in the region.

It is reported that the Conference is organised by the IMO and IPIECA – see: HERE – the global oil and gas industry association for advancing environmental and social performance. There will be close collaboration with…

Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


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Albatros on her berth at Cape Town last Monday. Picture: TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Albatros on her berth at Cape Town last Monday. Picture: TNPA

South Africa’s six cruise ports have begun welcoming thousands of passengers to the country’s shores as the 2019/20 cruise season gets underway.

The first cruise vessel to arrive in the new season is MS ALBATROS operated by Phoenix Reisen. She arrived in Cape Town on 21 October and has made calls at Port Elizabeth on 25 October, East London on 26 October, is due in Durban on Sunday 27 October and Richards Bay on Monday 28 October.

Provisional schedules now released by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) indicate that at least 23 luxury cruise ships operated by at least 17 international cruise lines are scheduled to call at the country’s six cruise ports this season.

Operators that have included South Africa on their routes this year include: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Lines, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Ponant, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line.

MSC Orchestra debuts in South Africa this summer, for a six-month extended season, operating out of Durban and Cape Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Orchestra debuts in South Africa this summer, for a six-month extended season, operating out of Durban and Cape Town

A newcomer to the country is TUI Cruises which will bring its vessel MEIN SCHIFF HERZ to sail her first ever cruise season in South Africa.

Operators with multiple vessels on the local route are AIDA Cruises, with two vessels, AIDAmira and AIDAura, Cunard Lines with its impressive QUEEN ELIZABETH AND QUEEN MARY 2 liners, Phoenix Reisen with MS ALBATROS and MV ARTANIA, Azamara Cruises with AZAMARA QUEST and AZAMARA JOURNEY and Princess Cruises with SUN PRINCESS and PACIFIC PRINCESS.

A highlight of the new season is the arrival of the MSC ORCHESTRA on her maiden season in South Africa. On 16 November she will be welcomed into the Port of Durban, ‘Africa’s Leading Cruise Port’ (as announced at the recent World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean segment), which she will use as her home port locally.

South African port landlord TNPA has positioned Durban and Cape Town as stimulus cruise home ports while Richards Bay, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth and East London continue to receive their share of cruise ships.

Construction will commence in November on the new Durban passenger terminal to be developed by Kwa Zulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT). In Cape Town the V&A Waterfront (Pty) Ltd holds a concession from TNPA for operation, maintenance and transfer of the Cape Town passenger terminal.


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SAIMI conference scene. Picture: SAMSA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAIMI conference scene. Picture: SAMSA

An envisaged reorganisation and alignment of education and training in South Africa’s maritime sector is a welcome development, but role players would be well advised not to waste South Africans’ time with skills sets that won’t lend them jobs, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has been warned.

The warning came from the department’s head of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy), Mr Mpumzi Bonga while addressing delegates to a two-day conference organised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in Durban recently.

The Durban indaba, according to SAIMI, was organised against the backdrop of a realisation that while the oceans economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent was being probed anew as the future frontier of economic development, South Africa is inadequately prepared as it does not have the manpower with the skills to match present and anticipated future demand in the sector.

According to SAIMI acting chief executive, Mr Odwa Mtati: “In order to activate the potential, we need the skills to match the demand….”

However, Mr Bonga in an overview address of the overall performance of the Government driven Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) since launch in 2014, said investment performance had so far exceeded expectations, but it was simply not creating the number of jobs anticipated.

Mpumzi Bonga, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mpumzi Bonga. Picture: SAMSA

He said investment to date in the targeted maritime sector subsectors had risen to above R40-billion – about R9-billion above target – in the five years since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) and yet anticipated job creation on the other hand, had only yielded less than 10,000 direct jobs – a far cry from the 77,000 jobs hoped to be created.

Even with indirect jobs accounted for, Mr Bonga said the jobs creation picture in the maritime sector remained dismal.

The mismatch in growing direct investment and job creation by the sector in the five year period, he said, could be explained by the fact that the bulk of the investment generated to date had been by the offshore oil and gas subsector, directed largely at seismic surveys and exploration, which required very highly specialised skills and fewer people to perform.

Even so, he said it was barely an acceptable fact that the maritime sector in general, and specifically the targeted subsectors, were not delivering on the promise the launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) gave at inception.

SAIMI conference, image SAMSA featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Image: SAMSA

“Continued implementation of Operation Phakisa reveals that we have attracted so far R41.1-billion and less than 10,000 [jobs]. The anticipation was to grow the GDP contribution by R171-billion and create a million jobs by 2033. Now, this is five years on and not the 16-17 year horizon that we used for planning.

“In today’s terms, we were supposed to have grown the GDP contribution by R32-billion this year, and created 77,000 jobs. If we look at a liniarity constant between investment made and the GDP we can happily say we have exceeded the investment that was expected. But can we say the same of job creation, and the answer is decidedly, no!” he said.

A star performer in investment attraction was the off-shore oil gas and MPG subsectors which were responsible for the large bulk of the R41.1-billion investment made to date. Laggards on the other hand included the maritime transport and manufacturing and the tourism subsectors – the subsectors with the greatest potential to create jobs.

Part of the reason this was not happening, Mr Bonga suggested, was an apparent mismatch of skills with jobs requirements, coupled with very slow transformation of the sector in terms human capital population demographics.

“The reason I am bringing this up is so that we should sober up when we plan the skills development that we are planning for, and to remind us that as when we do what we do, we be mindful that we do not have the luxury of time, as the majority of people out there are becoming restless. There is no room for mistakes.

“Whatever skills we plan for, South Africans will not take kindly if you gonna plan to train them in skills that will not be beneficial to them, skills that will not change their material conditions,” said Mr Bonga.

For his full remarks, Click on the video below. [24:52]


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One of the proposed schemes for the new port at Bagmoyo in Tanzania, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of the proposed schemes for the new port at Bagmoyo in Tanzania – will it ever be built?

After years of delay and frustration, Tanzania has issued what amounts to a sharp ultimatum to the Chinese partner in a venture involving the Sultanate of Oman aimed at designing and building a deepwater port at Bagamoyo, 75 kms north of Dar es Salaam.

The ultimatum stipulates that either the Chinese investor accepts the work and terms of reference of the agreed contracts, or it is abandoned with them having no…


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Russian-Africa Economic Forum banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The Roscongress Foundation has signed a number of cooperation agreements on the first day of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum to establish effective communication between the expert and business communities of Russia and African countries.

The agreements were signed on Wednesday with the Egyptian exporters’ association, Expolink; the National Agency for Investment Promotion of the Republic of the Congo; the Nigerian Investment Promotion Agency; the Eswatini (Swaziland) Investment Promotion Authority; the Chamber of Commerce of Burkina Faso; the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Tanzania; the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Abuja; the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mali, and the Confederation of Business Associations of Mozambique.

Roscongress Foundation CEO Alexander Stuglev said…



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"Look at how it has helped us as a nation" - Deputy President William Ruto, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
“Look at how it has helped us as a nation” – Deputy President William Ruto…Picture:  The late A.E. Durrant

Despite the Kenya Railways’ standard gauge railway (SGR) extension from Nairobi to Naivasha, some 120 kilometres away, nearing completion, it turns out that the effective end of the railway will be at a station known as Suswa, which is 20km short of Naivasha.

The line as far as Suswa opened to passenger traffic about a week ago when it was also announced that goods (freight) trains would not operate on the extension at this stage, only passenger services. The reason for this decision was not clarified even though the railway does not terminate anywhere important, ending instead near a remote village named Duka Moja.

For the inhabitants of that village the railway must appear as “so near yet so far”, because there is no station built at Duka Moja and no indication when or if the new line will be further extended.

The completion of the extension line had earlier been delayed by some months owing to a land dispute in the Ngong region.

Kenyan media outlets refer to the now incomplete but opened section as the ‘railway to nowhere’.

Deputy President William Ruto defended the project and reminded people that the existing metre-gauge railway operated by Rift Valley Railway, a division of Kenyan Railways, was built over a hundred years ago when it was regarded with scepticism by its detractors who referred to it as the ‘Lunatics Express’.

“Look at how it has helped us as a nation,” he said.


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One of Viking's recently launched ships, VIKING ORION, delivered in 2018, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of Viking’s recently launched ships, VIKING ORION, delivered in 2018

Thanks to its advanced solutions and technical innovations, the cruise ship VIKING GLORY will be one of the most climate-smart passenger ships in the world. It is estimated that the ship will consume up to 10% less fuel than M/S Viking Grace, which is smaller and was hailed as the world’s most eco-friendly ship of its time.

Viking Glory will launch into service in 2021 as the first ship in the world to be equipped with…


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SRI logo, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Station 6 Port Elizabeth must be the busiest in the country when it comes to calls to conduct medivacs of sick or injured seafarers from passing ships or the many fishing vessels off the Eastern Cape coast.

It is probably a matter of geographics; nevertheless the station is regularly called upon to evacuate patients from ships, sometimes in the roadstead outside in Algoa Bay and on other occasions further out at sea. Tribute to the duty crews of Station 6, as well as all other duties crews around the country for this unstinting and purely voluntary service to the marine sector.

In a couple of the latest incidents involving Port Elizabeth, Justin Erasmus, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, reports that at 14h13 on Wednesday, 23 October, the NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft, accompanied by EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedics. The reason for the launching was to rendezvous with a bulk carrier approaching the coast of Port Elizabeth where a 45 year old crewman suffering a medical complaint that required treatment in hospital, needed to be evacuated ashore.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), Telkom Maritime Radio Services, a Government Health EMS duty doctor and NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) were all involved in assisting with communications, logistics and coordination of the operation.

On arrival on the scene the patient, in a stable condition, was transferred onto the sea rescue craft and brought to the sea rescue base in PE harbour in the care of the rescue paramedics. Once safely ashore a ships agent transported the patient to hospital for further treatment.

One day before this incident, on Tuesday this week, Station 6 was similarly called out to launch its sea rescue craft JLT Rescuer. This was at 15h10 that afternoon, and accompanied by an EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedic, the NSRI set off to rendezvous with a fishing trawler off-shore of the Port of Port Elizabeth Onboard the trawler a 46 year old crewman had suffered an injury from a fall on his vessel, which required evacuation to hospital.

Once again the NSRI Port Elizabeth had been activated by TNPA following a request received from the fishing trawler which was heading towards Port Elizabeth. The NSRI prepared to launch to meet the trawler on arrival.

Once alongside the trawler in Algoa Bay the fisherman, in a stable condition, was transferred onto the sea rescue craft and taken to the sea rescue base in the care of an EMS rescue paramedic and then transported to hospital by ambulance for further care. The operation was completed at 15h46.

NSRI Station 5, Durban

In order to show that Port Elizabeth does not handle all the ship evacuations, and that these are not always performed by rescue craft going to sea, here is a report from Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station 5 commander, who reported that at 12h32 on Monday, 21 October, the NSRI Durban duty crew were activated by TNPA.

This followed a request for medical assistance from a ship that was at anchor off-shore of Durban’s Port, reporting a crewman suffering a medical emergency.

The Durban outer anchorage is about five nautical miles from the port entrance, and lies opposite Umhlanga, a northern suburb of the city.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 6 was launched accompanied by a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic and requested to remain on stand-by. This was while a Transnet port helicopter was activated accompanied by a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic, which proceeded direct to the ship.

Once overhead the helicopter deployed a paramedic onto the ships deck and care for the patient commenced before the patient was then lifted onto the hovering helicopter and airlifted direct to hospital in a stable condition.

The operation completed at 13h30 and the NSRI Spirit of Surfski 6 crew were able to return to base and stand down.


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Adonia sailing from Durban, picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Adonia sailing from Durban, picture: Terry Hutson

Enabling legislation in South Africa for the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Marpol Convention Annexture VI that will enforce even lower sulphur content for ships fuel from 1 January 2020, should be ready by year end, Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula has confirmed.

The assurance from the Ministry is significant in that an enabling legislation was among key issues raised as of concern by both industry and government during a recent two-day consultative workshop held in Cape Town and in which the IMO was represented.

Precisely, in terms of the IMO, the global implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit in ships fuel comes into effect on 1 January 2020.

The new regulations are in terms of the IMO’s MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI) whose goal, according to the IMO is to further reduce air pollution by ships through emission controls. The revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annex VI) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

In terms of this, all sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020.

At a two day conference held in Cape Town in July attended by more than 100 industry representatives from various sectors including cargo owners, ship owners and related, concerns were raised about the prospect of enabling legislation being ready on time for the deadline.

In Durban on Tuesday this week, Mr Mbalula finally allayed the fears, stating categorically that the necessary legislation will be in place by year end 2019.

Mr Mbalula made the confirmation during a brief interaction with the media while visiting the Transnet offices at the port of Durban where he was scheduled to go on a port tour but which had to be cancelled after strong winds swelled the waters, putting paid to any such venture on Tuesday afternoon.

“It (the legislation) will be in place. We’ve taken the matter up to Cabinet and from Cabinet it will undergo the processes of public participation and before the end of the year we should be able to make those deadlines,” the minister said.

South African Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula. Picture: SAMSA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South African Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula. Picture: SAMSA

Mr Mbalula also commented on other maritime sector-related issues inclusive of current moves to prioritise the setting up of coastal shipping in South Africa as a key development and broader participation tool to bolster sectoral economic growth.

He touched on the country’s choice of the city of Durban as next year’s host venue for the country’s inaugural staging of the IMO’s annual World Maritime Day Parallel Event – the biggest gathering of its kind for the global maritime sector involving no less than 170 countries.

In an earlier speech delivered at the 8th Annual Ports & Rail Evolution Forum last week at the Durban International Convention Centre, Mr Mbalula had described the IMO event in the country next year as an ideal opportunity that will allow South Africa to showcase its maritime capabilities to both Africa and the rest of the maritime world.

In that speech which is captured fully here in the next two videos, Mr Mbalula decried Africa’s apparent propensity to take its own time getting to bedding down ideas and setting its economy on track to both attract investment as well as deliver on socio economic benefits for its people.

He said the adage that “there is no hurry in Africa…” simply had to make way for a hurried pace in not only generating ideas but ensuring that they are followed up and implemented in a sustainable way. The key issue for integrated development and trade in the continent was ports and rail infrastructure which he described as reputably poorly maintained leading to gross inefficiencies.

For Mr Mbalula’s confirmation of the passage of legislation enabling the implementation of the IMO Marpol Convention Annex VI, click on the short video below. [3:14]

For Mr Mbalula’s full speech at the Ports & Rail Evolution Forum, click on the next video. [11:23]. Videos produced by: SAMSA


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African forest scene. Picture courtesy: Greenpeace, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
African forest scene.    Picture courtesy: Greenpeace

An investigation has begun into the background of the alleged attempt to illegally export 38 containers loaded with local timbers, presumed to have been illegally logged somewhere in The Gambia.

The containers have been impounded at the Banjul Wharf before they could be loaded onto a ship. Enquiries will have to determined the circumstances of the logging, the people involved and the intended destination of the containers.

As in other forested parts of Africa, illegal logging has…


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Livestock carrier Al-Shuwaikh. Picture: Farm Weekly, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Livestock carrier Al-Shuwaikh. Picture: Farm Weekly
An edited version of the following article written and compiled by Terry Hutson first appeared in The Mercury Network on Wednesday, 23 October 2019. See also our related story of 16 September Controversial livestock carrier Al-Shuwaikh remains at anchor outside East London

Why have livestock carriers, known universally as animal death ships, made the small South African port of East London their port of choice when calling in South Africa to load sheep or cattle for export?

Were they directed there by the port authority or some other government body, or is it that the exporters of live animals for slaughter overseas in places like Mauritius and the Persian Gulf, themselves believe that by going to a small port might allow them to sail under the radar of public opinion?

In either case the policy has worked until now. Numerous shiploads of cattle have been exported through East London to Mauritius, with little fanfare. As a rule East London news does not spread far and wide.

Dead sheep on a livestock carrier in a port in Australia, where Al-Shuwaikh has previously run into controversy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Dead sheep on a livestock carrier in a port in Australia, where Al-Shuwaikh has previously run into controversy

The NSPCA (National Council of SPCAs) has however been right on the case of the latest export of live animals from this country, a phenomenal 57,000 sheep that have been exported to the Middle East for slaughter in Kuwait.

Not that the NSPCA had any real success with its efforts of appealing to local authorities to intervene with the conditions surrounding the loading of this huge mass of animals, an ordeal lasting four days.

On top of that the animals already had to suffer days in road trucks from the farms and a journey of hundreds of kilometres to East London, where they were trapped in long queues of vehicles resembling the bottlenecks one experiences here in Durban outside the container terminal.

Several legal challenges was made which further delayed the process. After sitting in port for some time the loading of the 57,000 sheep for the Middle East went ahead. Once completed the ship, Al-Shuwaikh was allowed to sail, ostensibly direct to Kuwait but as it turned out, with two stops in the sultanate of Oman to discharge some of the surviving sheep.

It was estimated that a minimum of 500 sheep would die en route. Animals would die from stress, from overheating, from being trampled and generally from simply having to exist in such conditions including their own filth. Their bodies would go overboard.

On 3 October, the third day of loading, the acting-director of Veterinary Public Health of the Department of Agriculture, Dr Mphane Molefe, made an inspection, accompanied by a NSPCA’s veterinarian and a senior inspector. Dr Molefe was described as having appeared horrified at the conditions on board the ship, including dangerously high ammonia levels on some of the decks, parasitic conditions including faeces in food and water troughs,as well as other serious concerns.

On board the Al-Shuwaikh it was only half-way through the loading process, while the sheep would have to continue such stress, after which they would face being at sea in all weathers for several more weeks.

Despite Dr Molefe’s apparent reaction, two provincial government veterinarians later advised the NSPCA that there was nothing wrong on board.

A spokesperson for the Kuwaiti company involved, Al Mawashi, also denied rising allegations saying that the transporting of the sheep was being handled according to accepted international standards.

On 4 October Al-Shuwaikh was permitted to sail for the Middle East.

“We were standing on the harbour after a final inspection of the vessel was undertaken, the atmosphere and sheer devastation was suffocating, we all knew what it meant for the sheep on board. However, the evidence collected over the last four days will protect millions of animals from ever being loaded onto these death ships in the future,” said Meg Wilson of the NSPCA.

After the ship sailed it was learned that the ship was making the two stops in Muscat and Fujairah, before heading up the Gulf to Kuwait. This adds to the trauma for the animals but one suspects that this is all about business and that animal rights don’t enter the equation.

Does that attitude also apply to the South African farmers who willingly sold their livestock knowing it was for export? One has to suspect so.

An experienced veterinarian and feedlot specialist, Dr Shaun Morris had been invited by the NSPCA to attend an inspection of the ship and its general conditions during the loading process. “The South African authorities have not given enough thought and consideration to the problem at hand and have certainly not applied their minds when it comes to the welfare of the animals,” he said.

He accused DALRRD (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development), of simply turning a blind eye when it comes to animal welfare.

The NSPCA says it intends laying charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act No.71 of 1962 against the SA Government including the Provincial Government as well as animal cruelty charges, assault charges and multiple charges of obstruction against the personnel that handled the animals inhumanely, those who assaulted and hindered NSPCA inspectors from their duties, and personnel from the company Al Mawashi which is handling the importing of the sheep, via its registered company in South Africa.

The fact of the latter suggests other similar shipments are planned.

A second livestock carrier, the 49-year old LSS Success is due in East London on 4 November 2019, to be followed by Murray Express, which is due to arrive in East London to load cattle (both ships presumably for Port Louis, Mauritius), on 6 January 2020. Murray Express has become a regular caller at the Eastern Cape port.


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Barge on the White Nile river. Picture courtesy: UN, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Barge on the White Nile river. Picture courtesy: UN

Radio Dabanga has reported from Kosti that river shipping between Sudan and South Sudan resumed on Monday 21 October).

The shipping of cargo recommenced after a gap of more than eight years when goods left Kosti in White Nile state under the auspices of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) River Relief Bridge for the people of…


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Gulhifalhu. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Gulhifalhu. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has been awarded a contract by the Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure, Republic of Maldives. The contract carries a value of approximately EUR 45 million.

Dredging activities are due to commence in the fourth quarter of 2019 and are expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.

The contract is in relation to the development of Gulhifalhu, located about four kilometres from the country’s capital Malé. Gulhifalhu forms part of the Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure’s strategic plan to improve and develop the…


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

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

Statistics involving motor vehicles are also included, per port and measured in vehicle units. These include imports and exports and earth-moving and other ro-ro vehicles.

Total cargo handled for the month of September amounted to…


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Damen FCS 3307 Guardian Patrol vessel featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen FCS 3307 Guardian Patrol vessel

The latest additions to the modern and diverse fleet operated by Homeland Integrated Offshore Services (HIOSL) have arrived safely in Nigeria and are now being prepared for their first assignments.

The addition of these vessels brings improved capability to Homeland’s squadron of Damen FCS 3307 Patrol vessels, which are deployed in the Gulf of Guinea to protect and support the offshore assets of Homeland’s clients. These include many of the leading international oil companies.

The two new arrivals have been built to the same proven specifications as their sister ships previously delivered.

Key features of the 33-metre vessels include Damen’s trademark Axe Bow hull form that delivers excellent fuel economy and a top speed of 29 knots together with superb manoeuvrability and first-class seakeeping.

Power comes from three Caterpillar main engines totalling 3,579 bkW with each driving a fixed pitch propeller via a Reintjes WVS series gearbox. Capable of accommodating up to six crew and twelve security personnel they can remain at sea for up to four weeks and travel 1,200 nautical miles in and around Nigeria’s coastal and offshore oil fields.

The security packages installed by Damen on both vessels are purely defensive. The bridges are bullet proof and armoured ‘citadels’ within the hulls protect non-combatants.

In addition to their security role, each Damen FCS 3307 Patrol has a 75m² cargo deck aft rated at 2.5 tonnes/m² that adds an additional level of versatility and cost effectiveness to the benefit of Homeland’s clients.

The decks allow them to deliver equipment and spares to offshore installations without any impairment to their primary security role. 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.

“We continue to invest in state-of-the-art vessels for our fleet so as to maintain our leadership position in servicing Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas sector,” said Dr Louis Ekere, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Homeland Integrated Offshore Services.

“We work with many of the international oil companies (IOCs) operating actively in the Gulf of Guinea and these new additions will support them in achieving their strategic global objectives.”

Damen FCS 3307 Guardian Patrol vessel, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen FCS 3307 Guardian Patrol vessel

About Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited

Homeland was founded in 2006 to support the international oil companies operating in Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields by providing a wide range of services both onshore and offshore. 13 years later, it operates a sizeable number of vessels that includes fast supply intervention vessels, platform support vessels, anchor handling tug supply ships, security and patrol vessels, tugs and other craft. HIOSL is one of just a few indigenous Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) in Nigeria with a valid memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Navy for the provision of security services.


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A Japanese Navy Izumo-class helicopter carrier, referred to as a 'destroyer', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A Japanese Navy Izumo-class helicopter carrier, referred to as a ‘destroyer’

The Japanese Self-Defence Forces says it will consider sending Japanese Navy ships to patrol the waters of the Arabian Sea particularly those approaching the Persian or Arabian Gulf at the eastern side of the Strait of Hormuz.

While making it clear that the Japanese Navy will not be joining the U.S.-led coalition that aims at guarding ships through the Hormuz strait, it is giving consideration to having its own presence in these waters.

A considerable percentage of tankers…


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Tazara fuel train, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tazara fuel train

The respective ministers of transport, finance and industry from partner states Tanzania and Zambia who met recently have announced they will sign a bilateral agreement making possible a review of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) Act.

It is hoped that such a review will lead to a recovery and a restructuring of the TAZARA Cape gauge (3ft 6ins) railway line linking the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam with the region’s Cape gauge line in Zambia.

The 1860-km TAZARA as built by the Chinese in the 1970s to provide central African nations and in particular the landlocked countries, but including the DRC, with a viable railway link with the Dar es Salaam port. This would enable these countries to not have to rely on the railway to the south to Apartheid South Africa.

In the event the plan never quite worked as successfully as intended and with the emergence of a democratic South Africa in the early 1990s and the deterioration of maintenance standards on TAZARA, the line suffered and lost traffic to the point where at times the railway has ceased being in operation.

Several efforts have been made in recent years to resuscitate and restore the fortunes of the railway, which does offer a viable alternative to mining interests in Zambia and the DRC, but most of these efforts have proved unsustainable.

A communiqué issued after the recent meeting of ministers announced the intention that the latest pact will pave the way for the amending of the Act, which will then lead to restructuring of the struggling railway line.

The route of TAZARA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The route of TAZARA

The restructuring plan looks for the law to be revised to enable more private enterprise to be involved with the reviving of the TAZARA corporation.

In the communiqué the ministers stated: “We noted that the performance of the authority remained below breakeven point and therefore requiring immediate action to improve the situation.”

Another measure included a resolve to the re-capitalisation of TAZARA once the board has completed a bankable business plan by March 2020.

TAZARA needs to carry a minimum of 600,000 tonnes per annum to become financially stable – it last carried that amount in 2005/06 and is currently carrying little more than 120,000 tonnes annually.


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Set against a typical Cape Town backdrop, MS Albatros occupies the cruise berth in Duncan Dock where she is being attended by the bunker barge Southern Valour, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Set against a typical Cape Town backdrop, MS Albatros occupies the cruise berth in Duncan Dock where she is being attended by the bunker barge Southern Valour

As was the case at Namibia’s Port of Walvis Bay, the first cruise vessel of the new 2019-20 cruise season in South Africa has arrived with the visit by the MS ALBATROS.

Operated by Phoenix Reisen the 20,018-gt cruise ship sailed into the Port of Cape Town yesterday, 21 October, and will call at Port Elizabeth on 25 October, East London on 26 October, Durban on 27 October and Richards Bay on 28 October.

South Africa’s six cruise ports will be welcoming thousands of passengers to the country’s shores this season.

Operators that have included South Africa on their routes this year include: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Lines, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Ponant, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line.

A newcomer to the country is TUI Cruises which will bring its vessel MEIN SCHIFF HERZ to sail her first ever cruise season in South Africa.

The graceful lines of this 1973-built ship is more clearly shown in this image, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The graceful lines of this 1973-built ship is more clearly shown in this image


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By Damian Bellairs
Managing Director, Marine Services
Servest Marine

When the Dutch East Indian Company was mandated to map a route to India around the tip of Africa some 400 years ago, nobody would have anticipated the latent future economic potential that South Africa’s 2,800 kilometre coastline, which straddles three oceans – the Indian Ocean to the east, the southern ocean to the south and the Atlantic to the west, held for the country.

The southern tip of Africa is no longer a stop-over for spice merchants, but the vast coastline now supports many communities in the vicinity and beyond and is a hub for a thriving ocean economy.

According to the findings of a study conducted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the oceans around the country have the potential to contribute R54 billion to the GDP and an estimated potential to create 316,000 jobs. At the launch of Operation Phakisa in 2015, marine transport and manufacturing were estimated to contribute nearly R25 billion to the GDP by 2020, and an excess of 15,000 direct and 45,000 indirect jobs within the same timeframe.

Government concedes that despite the enormous contribution that the ocean economy makes to the country’s GDP and the role it plays in generating much-needed jobs. According to figures released by government, the ocean economy has the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to GDP and create just over one million jobs by 2033, increase the number of jobs to 0,8-1,0 million, which is more than double the 2010 level.

This will go a long way towards making a dent on the stubbornly high unemployment figures, which soared to 29% in the first quarter of this year according Statistics SA.

As part of Operation Phakisa, a project that was spearheaded by the Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with various other departments, the future potential of the ocean economy is highly concentrated within four new growth areas. These sectors were identified as marine transport and manufacturing activities, (coastal shipping, trans-shipment, boat building, repair and refurbishment, etc.), offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, and marine protection services and ocean

The impact of the ocean economy in stimulating economic growth

South Africa is a maritime country which accounts for 3.5% of world sea trade and where 80% of trade value being driven by the sea, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority. South Africa is in the top 15 countries that conducts trade on sea by distance.

According to a 2018 PwC report on Strengthening Africa’s gateway to trade and trade in southern Africa, trade in the region is dominated by South African ports, which make up 76% of containerised traffic in sub-Saharan Africa. The reports shows that Durban is the largest container port in the region by far, accounting for almost half of all containers moving through the region’s ports. It noted that in terms of factual freight handled, 10 ports in sub-Saharan Africa handle more than 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent
units (TEUs) per year, and two of these handle more than a million per year; and only Durban handles more than two million TEUs per year. In addition, the report shows that four of the eight largest bulk ports are located in South Africa, of which two, Saldanha and Richards Bay are specialist ports handling iron ore and coal respectively.

Ocean resources, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Three oceans combine

South Africa’s oceans economy also presents an opportunity to stimulate growth in the management of shipyards, dry docks, marine repair shops and similar enterprises. These are the competency gaps that Operation Phakisa seeks to plug. South Africa cannot afford the luxury of neglecting an industry that has enormous potential to put the economy on a new growth trajectory.


The maritime economy can also give impetus to eco-tourism. South Africa is blessed with a flora and fauna biodiversity that is found nowhere else in the world, which draws flocks of eco-tourists to the country’s shores.

South Africa’s expansive coast with its sandy beaches, coupled with a variety of ecotourism activities – from snorkeling, whale watching, surfing, game fishing to scuba diving, and shark diving, make South Africa the ideal travel destination and help to position the country as a preferred tourist destination.

Oil and gas

In the area of fossil fuels, South Africa’s government has identified offshore oil and gas as a focus area for rapid development. The government has stated that it aims to accelerate the drilling of 30 wells in the next few years as part of Operation Phakisa, and develop infrastructure, such as a phased gas pipeline network. The discovery of rich sources of natural gas off the southern coast of the Cape bodes well for the development of the gas economy.

It has been estimated that South Africa could be home to around one billion barrels of the globe’s total resources of gas and condensate. This was echoed by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, who hailed the discovery of gas deposits in February this year as potentially a major boost for the sluggish economy, which grew less than 1% in the first quarter of 2019. The maritime economy holds immense potential to stimulate economic growth, create employment opportunities and create a thriving ecosystem where entrepreneurs can be incubated and grow.

More opportunities

Operation Phakisa has also identified small harbours as low hanging fruits that can stimulate economic growth and accelerate enterprise development. These commercial activities:

* infrastructure to support fishers: processing, ice production, cold storage;

* infrastructure for boat-building and repair;

* additional berthing and launching facilities;

* new recreational fishing points; and

* access to better amenities for fishers.

Operation Phakisa also identified ice-making, desalination, yacht mole facilities, water taxis and a variety of tourism ventures as other business opportunities that might work at a small harbour.

Looking ahead

The expansive oceans surrounding South Africa have tremendous potential to spur much-needed economic growth. However, all role players need to be cognizant of the delicate ecosystem and ensure that all economic activities are undertaken in a sustainable and responsible manner.

About Servest

Servest is the largest black owned facilities management company on the African continent, providing integrated facilities solutions for the internal and external built and marine environment; including solutions such as internal and external design and space planning, cleaning, parking, catering, hygiene, office services and landscaping services across 10 African countries on the continent.

Servest was established in 1997 and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in 1998. In 2015, Kagiso Tiso Holdings (KTH) acquired 51% of Servest making it the largest black owned facilities management company in Africa. The Group employs 25,000 people across 10,000 sites, and currently has a presence across in South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia.


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Mombasa's second container terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mombasa’s second container terminal

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is examining the possibility of providing shore power to ships calling at the ports of Mombasa and Lamu.

The aim is to reduce CO2 emission levels at these ports, which handle the majority of Kenya’s international shipping.

Authorities are currently…


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Russia-Africa Summir banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation to the first Russia-Africa Summit taking place this week in Sochi, Russia.

The forum, which will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, will focus on key areas of cooperation between Russia and African countries.

“The summit is expected to deepen friendly relations between the Russian Federation and countries of the African continent at both bilateral and multilateral levels; forge closer collaboration on regional and international issues of common interest…” the Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.

The summit is also expected to raise…

Russia-Africa Summir banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Russia, a strategic partner to SA

According to the Presidency, Russia is a Strategic Partner for South Africa in terms of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement that was signed in eThekwini in 2013.

“One of the primary mechanisms for improving the bilateral relationship between the two countries and advancing South Africa’s development objectives is the Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC).

“The ITEC is the foundation for…


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Brexit flags

On 17 October the EU agreed terms for the UK’s withdrawal. These were accepted by Downing Street although there were objections from parties in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Terms of the departure were not debated in the Commons when it sat with a rare Saturday assembly (only the fourth time in 70 years) on 19 October.

On that day MPs voted by a majority of 16 to back an amendment to withhold approval of the latest deal until proper scrutiny of the terms for departure had taken place. This has been regarded as a form of insurance against the UK leaving without a deal on the scheduled date of 31 October.

PM Johnson was forced by Parliament to send a letter to the EU negotiators requesting an extension which, in an unorthodox approach, he left unsigned*. This was accompanied by a second letter saying he did not want an extension to be granted.

Cabinet ministers have been reported as insisting the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, despite the PM’s letter. Furthermore, HMG’s contingency plan to handle a no-deal Brexit was being triggered as risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October had increased.

At the time of writing HMG was to seek a vote in the Commons on its Brexit deal today (21 October).

Reported by Paul Ridgway

*To see copy CLICK HERE


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One of Kenya Railway's impressive but costly standard gauge container trains, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of Kenya Railway’s impressive but costly standard gauge container trains

Last week Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened Phase 2 of his country’s ambitious standard gauge railway (SGR) that extends the line from Nairobi further inland to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha.

The SGR, which so far has been funded with Chinese loans and built by a Chinese construction company, is intended to ultimately link the port city of Mombasa and the Ugandan border. If these intended plans happen the line will then connect with a similar SGR being built from Kampala in Uganda to the Kenya border.

Except that neither appear to have much hope of ever getting underway.

Those hopes and intentions are in serious doubt for several reasons, one of which being that the Ugandan government appears to favour an alternate standard gauge railway connecting the landlocked country with the port of Dar es Salaam in Kenya’s southern neighbour, Tanzania.

Kenya stalled by lack of a Chinese loan

Kenya’s plans have also stalled following China having declined to advance a further loan for completing the Kenya SGR from Naivasha to the Uganda border. The reason for China’s reluctance in this matter has not been made clear although it appears that China may not see any guarantee of Kenya’s ability to pay for this extension over and above the existing completed railway – particularly if Uganda opts to route its freight and cargo through Tanzania.

When approached for a further loan to continue extending the SGR from Naivasha to the Lake Victoria city of Kisumu and the Uganda border at Malaba, China agreed to loan little more than 10 percent of the amount requested. This was tied to the upgrading of the existing metre gauge Rift Valley Railway built in colonial days by the British which came as something of a slap in the face for the Kenya government.

Kenya needed Sh380 billion (US$3.658 billion) to complete the line to Kisumu and the Uganda border. Instead, the Chinese government only parted with Sh40 billion ($385 million) to upgrade the metre-gauge railway between Naivasha and Malaba (the Uganda border) as a compromise.

The Kenyan government was not amused but there is little it can do without the sort of loans that only China once appeared willing to make. China is however clearly concerned over Kenya’s continuing ability to service its existing debt.

Warned of this

Critics of the venture have been quick to point out they warned that the SGR would plunge the country into debt. Kenya’s efforts at forcing importers and the smaller number of exporters into using the rail as opposed to road has met with strong opposition especially in Mombasa, leading to the port being blockaded at one point. But without these measures it simply appears that Kenya’s SGR is unable to generate the return expected of it and which it so confidently forecast when the SGR was still being negotiated.

Meanwhile, the new section of track just opened is a mere 120 kilometres in length, with 12 stations in between and has cost $1.5 billion. Passenger and freight traffic is permitted although the emphasis will be on garnering as much freight traffic as possible. It is intended to build an inland container park (ICD) at Naivasha similar to another outside Nairobi, and from this new inland park containers will be distributed to Uganda, Rwanda and to South Sudan.

The $1.5 billion for this shortish section seems high in comparison for the much lengthier section from Mombasa to Nairobi, which cost $3.2 billion.

President Kenyatta says he is confident that the new section of SGR will bring prosperity to the region. “The completion of the Nairobi Suswa section of the SGR project is expected to revolutionise the development of the surrounding areas,” Kenyatta said.

The Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Wu Peng called on Chinese enterprises to invest in the Naivasha ICD and the special economic zones.

Not everybody and particularly those across the border in Uganda and Rwanda appear to share the same degree of optimism.


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Artist's impression of Port of Walvis Bay's new cruise ship jetty, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Artist’s impression of Port of Walvis Bay’s new cruise ship jetty

The development of a Waterfront & Marina has been identified as a project through which Namport wants to better combine seaport activities with recreational and tourism activities, albeit through a secure physical barrier between the two.

And now that the port’s new container terminal is operational, the port authority is able to turns its…

The proposed Walvis Bay Waterfront development adjacent to the port and cruise jetty, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The proposed Walvis Bay Waterfront development adjacent to the port and cruise jetty


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The IMB's latest Piracy report shows that danger exists at a number of hotspots around the world, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The IMB’s latest Piracy report shows that danger exists at a number of hotspots around the world

The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report for the third quarter of 2019 demonstrates fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018.

In total 119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include…


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Korean Peninsula. Released 18/10/2019 10:00 am. Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO Id 432324. Copernicus ©. ESA ©. Illustration reproduced by kind courtesy of the European Space Agency ©, featured in Afric PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Korean Peninsula. Released 18/10/2019 10:00 am. Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO Id 432324. Copernicus ©. ESA ©. Illustration reproduced by kind courtesy of the European Space Agency ©


Seen here is the Korean Peninsula in East Asia in an image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission. The peninsula is over 900 km long and is located between the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, to the east and the Yellow Sea to the west.

Korea’s peninsula is divided into two countries: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

North Korea is divided into nine provinces, with Pyongyang as the capital. Pyongyang, which can be seen in light grey in the upper left of the image, lies on the banks of the Taedong River and on a flat plain about 50 km inland from the Korea Bay.

The capital of South Korea is Seoul, which is in the northwest of the country, slightly inland and around 50 km south of the North Korean border.

As the image shows, the Korean peninsula is mostly mountainous and rocky, making less than 20% of the land suitable for farming.

The Yellow Sea owes its name to the silt-laden waters from the Chinese rivers that empty into it. It is also one of the largest shallow areas of continental shelf in the world with an average depth of around 50 m.

Waters off the coast of Korea are considered among the best in the world for fishing. The warm and cold currents attract a wide variety of species and the numerous islands, inlets and reefs provide excellent fishing grounds.

Sentinel-3 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring programme. Each satellite’s instrument package includes an optical sensor to monitor changes in the colour of Earth’s surfaces. It can be used, for example, to monitor ocean biology and water quality. This image, which was captured on 21 May 2019, is also featured on the ESA’s Earth from Space video programme, see:

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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report by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

FS Jean Bart stands watch as her sea boats close in on the suspicious vessel, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FS Jean Bart stands watch as her sea boats close in on the suspicious vessel

Two warships, one from the Royal Navy and one from the French Marine Nationale, have made major drugs seizure from a dhow in the Arabian Sea. HMS MONTROSE, a Type 23 frigate, and FS JEAN BART, a Cassard class frigate, worked together to intercept 94 kgs of heroin and 76 kgs of crystal methamphetamine with a local street value of over a million US dollars.

Narcotics smuggling in the region is linked to major criminal networks and terrorism.

The suspicious dhow was initially located by FS Jean Bart’s helicopter and boarded by a team from the French ship who secured the vessel and conducted an initial investigation. In associated support to CTF150, they collected information on her…


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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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