Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 12 January 2020

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FRONT PAGE: MSC RAVENNA calls at Durban, biggest ever container ship in South Africa


MSC RAVENNA: Pictures: Trevor Steenkamp / NauticalImages, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC RAVENNA: Pictures: Trevor Steenkamp / NauticalImages, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC RAVENNA: Pictures: Trevor Steenkamp / NauticalImages, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC RAVENNA: Pictures: Trevor Steenkamp / NauticalImages

The biggest container ship ever to have called at a South African port arrived in Durban harbour early on Christmas Day. The ship was the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s MSC RAVENNA (IMO 9484431) which is deployed on the company Africa Express service.

The ship’s arrival in port was delayed by another ship working cargo on the designated berth, No.203 on Pier 2’s North Quay. Thus the unusual sight of not only such a large ship entering port on Christmas Day (the port does not close) but also the cranes went into action shortly after berthing.

Ships that call at the port of Durban and other South African container ports have become progressively larger as the insatiable demand for containerised cargo continues across the world, and South Africa has not been overlooked in this global demand.

The 165 517-dwt MSC Ravenna, which was built at the Daewoo shipyards in South Korea in 2011, is able to carry a whopping 14,694 TEUs (twenty foot container equivalents), making her by some distance the biggest container ship ever to enter the port. A thousand of those container slots on board are for reefers – refrigerated cargo.

The ship measures 365.5 metres in length and is 51m wide – the first time that a ship of this width has called at the port.

It was for this reason alone that the ship had to berth on the North Quay of Pier 2, berth 203, where her great length and width can be accommodated. This is the only quay (three berths) with ship-to-shore gantry cranes capable of extending across the width of 20 rows of containers. To give a further impression of the impressive size of the ship, containers are stacked 11 deep inside the vessel’s holds and another 10 deep on the deck.

MSC Ravenna’s draught of 16 metres meant the ship is unable to work a full cargo at the Durban Container Terminal, a situation that will persist until such time that the North Quay is eventually deepened. The ship is deployed on MSC’s Africa Express service between the Far East, SE Asia and West Africa, returning from Lomé, which is MSC’s hub in West Africa via a call at Durban where the ship loads additional cargo for the East. Durban is the only scheduled South African call on this service.

A short 15 years ago a ship of this size calling at Durban was unimaginable but the demand for bigger ships across the world, and improvements at the ports means that container ships in particular continue to grow, with vessels of 23,000 TEU already in service on some of the busier Northern Hemisphere routes. This has resulted in other ships of just a few years being ‘cascaded’ onto the secondary services as is the case with MSC Ravenna.

Pictures: Trevor Steenkamp / NauticalImages




MSC Annamaria enters the port of Durban. Picture: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Annamaria. Picture: Keith Betts

The feeder container vessel MSC ANNAMARIA (IMO 8521402) enters Durban harbour earlier in November this year. The 31,205-dwt ship, which has a container capacity of 1879 TEU was built in 1987 and has a length of 188 metres and a width of 28m. MSC Annamaria was built in Germany by HDW Kiel of Kiel. Picture by Keith Betts



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We take a look at what the US Navy has been up to over the last week, with four examples of good works with allies and at home

A US Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 20.1, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, observes the French navy amphibious assault ship BPC Dixmude (L9015) in the Atlantic Ocean on 6 January. This training event tests an operational concept called Amphibious Maritime Basing and Interoperability, and will help streamline practices and procedures between US naval forces and the French, enhancing the French and American capability to respond rapidly and efficiently to potential future crises.
SPMAGTF-CR-AF is a rotational force deployed to conduct crisis-response and theatre-security operations in Europe and Africa. US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Kenny Gomez/Released. USN ©

On 6 January Lieutenant Aaron Van Driessche, a warfare tactics instructor at the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS), Detachment San Diego, pilots the US Navy’s virtual combat curriculum with sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) inside the newly launched portable simulator, the On Demand Trainer. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Millar/Released. USN ©

OKINAWA, Japan. Steelworker Constructionman Marshall Lybarger, left, and Builder Constructionman Jeffrey Crabtree, deployed with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, use the walk-behind saw to cut the sidewalk adjacent to the seawall. U.S. Navy Seabees are replacing sidewalks and repairing a seawall at Naval Base White Beach. NMCB-5 is deployed across the Indo-Pacific region conducting high-quality construction to support U.S. and partner nations to strengthen partnerships, deter aggression, and enable expeditionary logistics and naval power projection. (U.S. Navy photo by Equipment Operator Constructionman Brandon Blevins/Released)

Chief Musician Jennifer Krupa, from Hemet, Calif., works with students from Hoover High School in Hoover, Alabama on 8 January during the 11th Annual Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans.
The US Navy Band jazz ensemble Commodores presented clinics and performances at the conference, connecting with music students, educators and performers.  US Navy photo by Senior Chief Musician Adam Grimm/Released. USN ©

Collated by Paul Ridgway


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SAAF Oryx helicopter preparing to land on the FPSO being carried on board the Boskalis heavylift vessel Boka Vanguard, report carried in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
SAAF Oryx helicopter preparing to land on the FPSO being carried on board the Boskalis heavylift vessel Boka Vanguard.   Picture courtesy: NSRI


The recent report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS concerning a call to the SA Air Force, NSRI and other organisations to carry out an emergency medical evacuation of five seafarers on board a Boskalis heavylift vessel, which we had identified as the heavylift BOKA VANGUARD, has a sequel.

Click on the original report SA Air Force and NSRI called in for medical evacuation of five injured Brazilian seafarers

According to Boskalis, the heavylift Vanguard is carrying a FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) vessel, which is being transported on board the Boka Vanguard from China to Brazil.

On board the FPSO is a team of contractors, designated by the shipyard that built the FPSO, who are conducting preservation works on board the FPSO.

These works are part of the pre-delivery activities by the yard before the FPSO is delivered to the operator in Brazil later this month. During the voyage six persons employed by the contractor, all with Brazilian nationality, illegally consumed a cleaning liquid found on board of the FPSO.

This liquid is a substance customarily used for degreasing purposes, presumably containing a mixture of ethanol and the severely toxic methanol.

Approximately 36 hours after consuming the liquid, serious signs of illness became apparent, at which time the affected persons – six in all, reported the matter to the crew of the Vanguard.

Boskalis says that swift and immediate action was taken by the heavylift’s crew. The Vanguard changed course towards the coast of South Africa and a medical evacuation by helicopter was requested and organised – see link above.

“Regrettably one of the affected individuals passed away before the medical assistance was on site. The remaining five persons were successfully evacuated, hospitalised in Durban, South Africa and are successfully recovering from the intoxication.”

Boskalis says it has a strict zero tolerance policy with regard to alcohol on its offshore vessels. The company expressed its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased person.

Once the medical evacuation of the five contractors had been completed the FPSO and Vanguard resumed their journey to Brazil.


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Sailors from the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf man the rails as the ship comes alongside to conclude deployment. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua D Sheppard. USN © featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Sailors from the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf man the rails as the ship comes alongside to conclude deployment. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua D Sheppard. USN ©


According to the US Navy in Norfolk, Virginia, the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS LEYTE GULF (CG 55) returned to Norfolk Naval Station on 4 January marking the end of a nine-month deployment to the US 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation.

Leyte Gulf deployed on 27 March from Norfolk as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 in support of maritime stability and security. Leyte Gulf performed critical air warfare responsibilities as part of the carrier strike group, operating across the…..

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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The SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter about to land on the Boskalis vessel Boka Vanguard, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter about to land on the Boskalis vessel Boka Vanguard


Air and sea rescue units were called out at 09h30 yesterday morning when the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) tasked the SA Air Force (SAAF), the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Netcare 911 Ambulance services to assist with the medical evacuation of five injured Brazilian seafarers who had suffered injuries on board their Boskalis heavy lift vessel BOKA VANGUARD off the coast of eastern South Africa.

It appeared that the men had suffered injuries from an accident on board the vessel while at deep sea and that a sixth man had died as a result of his injuries. The master of the vessel had requested that the body of the deceased man remain onboard the ship.

With the vessel diverted from deep sea towards the port of Durban, Station 5 of the NSRI (Durban) was alerted as was 15 Squadron SAAF and Netcare 911. Meanwhile MRCC had arranged a Western Cape Government Health EMS duty doctor to provide medical advice to the ship’s medics.

In addition Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with communications.

A SAAF BK-117 helicopter, 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight, was tasked to respond to Durban from Port Elizabeth where Charlie Flight is based and a second SAAF helicopter, an Oryx, 15 Squadron, was made ready at Durban while the ship approached the coast.

At 16h42 the NSRI sea rescue craft Alick Rennie launched from the Durban Sea Rescue station, accompanied by a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic and an IPSS rescue paramedic, to go to the ship and stand-by on the scene.

At 17h30 the SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and an NSRI medic and the SAAF 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight, BK-117 helicopter, accompanied by two NSRI rescue swimmers, responded from Durban Air Force Base.

On arrival on scene, 28 nautical miles off-shore East of Durban, the SAAF Oryx helicopter landed on the ship’s helicopter pad, with the SAAF BK-117 helicopter and the sea rescue craft standing-by on the scene while Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and the NSRI medic took over care of the five patients from the ship’s medical crew.

The patients were then transferred into the Oryx helicopter where medical treatment continued as the five patients, one in a critical condition and four reported to be stable, were rapidly airlifted to a hospital in Durban.

It has since been confirmed that all five patients are in a stable condition as they recover in hospital.


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Acquires more than 1.7 million acres

Adds upstream interests to longstanding downstream business in Egypt
Exploration operations scheduled to begin in 2020

ExxonMobil makes of high-performance oil and gas reservoir computing combining software, engineering and geoscience skills. Pictures: ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
ExxonMobil makes of high-performance oil and gas reservoir computing combining software, engineering and geoscience skills. Above is a seismic map.   Picture: ©


On 30 December ExxonMobil announced that it had secured more than 1.7 million acres for exploration offshore Egypt.

“These awards strengthen our exploration portfolio in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Mike Cousins, senior vice president of exploration and new ventures at ExxonMobil. He added: “We look forward to working with the government and deploying our proven expertise and advanced technology.”

The acquisition includes acreage in the 1.2 million North Marakia Offshore block, which is…

Reported by Paul Ridgway

ExxonMobil is a global leader in project execution and holds an industry-leading inventory of resources. It is one of the largest refiners and marketers of petroleum and chemical products, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
ExxonMobil is a global leader in project execution and holds an industry-leading inventory of resources. It is one of the largest refiners and marketers of petroleum and chemical products.    Picture: ©



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Cory's Shearwater. Image courtesy: Wikipedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cory’s Shearwater. Image courtesy: Wikipedia Commons


The National Sea Rescue Institute, Station 4, Mykonos was involved in a sea rescue mission with something of a difference on the weekend just past.

Mike Shaw, NSRI Mykonos station commander, reports that on Saturday morning, 4 December 2020, the NSRI Mykonos duty crew launched its sea rescue craft Spirit of Rotary East London II at Port Owen to rendezvous with the salvage tug SA AMANDLA which had alerted SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) to what they believed to be a Petrel sea bird appearing to be injured on their ship.

It turned out that a sea bird had landed on the SA Amandla on 27 December while the vessel was at sea, and appearing to be weak or tired, the crew had fed it but after some while the bird failed to fly away. As a result SANCCOB was alerted.

SA Amandla. Picture: Roy Reed Photography, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
SA Amandla.    Picture: Roy Reed Photography

“SANCCOB duly contacted NSRI requesting our intervention and on Saturday we rendezvoused with SA Amandla 12 nautical miles off-shore of Laaiplek and the bird was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought to shore and it was collected by SANCCOB,” said Shaw.

Believing the bird to be a Petrel the NSRI crew named the bird Diesel but SANCCOB has since confirmed that in fact the bird is a Cory’s Shearwater which are not often seen.

SANCCOB is caring for the bird and tests and X-Rays have not yet determined any medical complaint other than the bird appears to be weak. Further tests and care for the bird are continuing.

SANCCOB also confirmed that the Cory’s Shearwater are fully migrant, found in the Sub Antarctic Region, across to South America and up to Northern Europe.

According to Wikipedia the Cory Shearwater breeds on Madeira, the Azores and the Berlengas Archipelago in Portugal and the Canary Islands in Spain but are seen in a wide (deep) geographical range, as indicated in the map.

Geographic range of the Cory's Shearwater bird,Map courtesy: Wikipedia Commons
Map courtesy: Wikipedia Commons



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Dredger Galilei 2000, now nmed AMBIKA and in operations off Nigeria. Picture: Vesselfinder, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Dredger Galilei 2000, now named AMBIKA and engaged in operations off Nigeria. Picture: Vesselfinder


It has been reported by Dryad Global that the former Jan de Nul dredger Galilei 2000, now renamed AMBIKA and operated by a Nigerian-registered company has been attacked by pirates, leaving four security personnel on the dredger killed in a firefight, and three crew members from Ambika being kidnapped.

Another five crew on the dredger remained behind after the pirates departed. The whereabouts of the abducted men and the pirates remains unknown. Two of these are Russians, the other is…


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Remaining ever vigilant the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), seen here front, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) transit the Atlantic Ocean during a deployment in 2019 as part of the Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford/Released. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Remaining ever vigilant the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), seen here front, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) transit the Atlantic Ocean during a deployment in 2019 as part of the Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford/Released. USN ©


In Washington on 4 January Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F Wolf issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the changing threat landscape following the successful US-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qaseem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Wolf said: “At this time there is no specific, credible threat against the homeland. The Department issued this bulletin to inform, share protective measures, and reassure the…

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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ClassNK Register banner logo, appearing in frica PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


ClassNK has released the first issue of its new publication ClassNK Technical Journal, which focuses on digitalisation in this edition.

This is a comprehensive technical publication that supersedes ‘ClassNK Technical Bulletin’, a publication that was formerly being published by ClassNK to better provide its technical knowledge to the maritime industry where innovative R&D and technical development are…


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MSC Orchestra, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
MSC Orchestra


Man Overboard! A South African man who jumped off the cruise ship MSC ORCHESTRA into the Indian Ocean on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, has been rescued after the 92,400-gt ship turned back to look for him.

MSC Orchestra sailed from Durban on 28 December on the popular New Year cruise to Port Louis, Mauritius with over 3000 passengers expecting a relaxing and uneventful cruise. However the ship was heading towards possible turbulent waters from Cyclone Calvinia which passed close to Mauritius a day earlier. Then at approximately 16h00 on Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, a man was seen to jump overboard with the ship still a long distance from Port Louis and no land in sight.

Once the alarm was given the cruise ship turn about and retraced her course, returning to the position where the man had jumped. One of the ship’s lifeboats was launched and after a search the man was found still alive and treading water.

Having been brought aboard he was seen by passengers being able to walk unaided from the launch, wrapped in a silver blanket. A spokesman for MSC Cruises said his health was being monitored and assistance offered to his family.

MSC Orchestra is home-ported in Durban for the Southern Hemisphere summer months and is conducting cruises to Mozambican destinations, as well as the longer New Year cruise to Reunion and Mauritius. The ship will also undertake a number of cruises between Cape Town and Walvis Bay.


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75 nautical miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Photo kindly provided by USCG 7th District Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands online newsroom. Photo USCG ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Photo kindly provided by USCG 7th District Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands online newsroom. Photo USCG ©


The crew of a US Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter medically evacuated a US citizen passenger from cruise ship Queen Mary 2 on 1 January, approximately 75 nautical miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received the medical evacuation request from Queen Mary 2, at 14h00 local time earlier in the day (1 January) for a 68-year-old man who was experiencing a medical emergency which required immediate medical attention at a local hospital.

At the time Queen Mary 2 was transiting to New York, approximately 268 nautical miles north of San Juan, when the incident was reported to the Coast Guard.

To shorten the flying distance, Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan coordinated with Queen Mary 2 and Air Station Borinquen for a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to rendezvous with the cruise ship and conduct the medevac at the predetermined position.

Upon completing the rendezvous with Queen Mary 2, the helicopter aircrew deployed their rescue swimmer aboard the cruise ship to assess the patient’s condition. The Coast Guard aircrew conducted multiple hoists to bring the patient and his wife aboard the aircraft.

Shortly thereafter, the helicopter landed at the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci airport in San Juan, where Emergency Medical Service personnel received and transported the patient and his wife to the Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital in San Juan.

In the words of Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Tootle, MH-65 Dolphin helicopter flight mechanic for the medevac: “I am happy that were able to help the patient and his partner make it safely to the hospital. The training we complete prepared us well for this mission and for my first successful live hoist.”

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Leith-Built Ships: Volume 1 They once were shipbuilders, by R O Neish has been published by Whittles Publishing Ltd, of Dunbeath, Caithness, KW6 6EG, Scotland.

This is a softback of 144 pages with more than 30 photographs and drawings and is priced at £16.99. (ISBN 978 184995 443 3). Orders may be placed at

Here is the first in a series published by Whittles and recounting Leith’s rich maritime history and features the shipyards that eventually became the Henry Robb Shipyard including: S&H Morton, Ramage & Ferguson, Cran & Somerville and Hawthorns & Co.

In his foreword Robert W Rowbottom, a naval architect, commented with: “…in this wonderful book we can learn much about the early days of the shipyards and the many ships built there…it has been fascinating to read the wealth of information collated by Ron Neish…(this) deserves to become a classic of its kind as it preserves for posterity Leith’s proud shipbuilding history which could otherwise so easily be forgotten.”

Author, Ron Neish, also a naval architect, is a proud shipbuilder who is actively involved in the shipbuilding industry in a design and consultancy basis and here he emphasises the almost forgotten part played by Leith in the UK’s maritime past. A valuable history is provided of the ships built at Leith from around 1850 until the end of the First World War detailing the yards and the famous ships they constructed, accompanied by tales of adventure, trades and inevitably fates.

Many are aware of the part played by the great shipbuilding centres of the Clyde and Tyneside and this book helps the reader appreciate the part played by the shipbuilders of Leith, once Scotland’s main port with a pedigree of shipbuilding second to none going back over 660 years of recorded history. In another life in Singapore half a century ago I recall overseeing the importing of Scotch shipped in Ben Line vessels from the port of Leith.

Apart from the foreword by Rowbottom the author contributes a preface and an introduction. To follow are seven chapters followed by a glossary of abbreviations common in the world of ships: CS for cable ship, LOA for length overall, TSMY for twin-screw motor yacht and more to total 43 entries. To this Is added a valuable glossary of more than 80 ship construction terms: coffin plate, deadrise, dog and others to jog the mind of the naval architect, shipbuilder or ship manager reader.

Every vessel which came from the yards of Ramage & Ferguson is listed, from Yard No 1, ss Shamrock, of 591 gross tons, launched in February 1878 and described as an ‘iron hulled ship’ to No 270, Mercator, of 770 tons, a screw steamer launched in December 1931. This is slightly outside the span of the book and Volume II will take the story to 1939. Tonnages given are gross registered except for yachts (a speciality of these yards) indicated as Thames Measurement. One construction was of a grain elevator.

I had the privilege of visiting the Robb Caledon Leith yard in 1982 to inspect No 530. This was the twin-screw lighthouse tender Patricia, still in service with Trinity House and her replacement is about to be designed and built. Robbs ceased production at No 535. Seventy years before, in December 1911, the lighthouse tender Alert was launched at Leith for Trinity House. Sadly she hit a mine in April 1917 and was lost with eleven of her crew in the Dover Strait. Throughout the war merchant ship losses mounted, often above 300,000 tons each month and shipbuilding production was raised such that by 1918 no less than 3,000,000 tons a year were being launched.

The last quarter of the 19th century was certainly a high-point in British shipbuilding. To support this the author quotes a speech by Chamberlain in the House of Commons of 1884 included by Samuel Smiles in Men of Invention and Industry: “In 1862 the steam tonnage of the country was 537,000 tons; in 1872 it was 1,537,000 tons; and in 1882 it had reached 3,835,000 tons.”

As for longevity, ss Albatross, Yard No 3, went down the ways in 1878. Sadly she was broken up in 1994 after a collision in the Bosphorus, recording an amazing 116 years of work.

How much of this Leith-built tonnage was destined for trades to Africa is not known but it is fair to say that the world’s trade routes were well-served by Leith down the years. Sadly many from these yards, taken up from trade, were lost in the Great War. I look forward to introducing Volume 11.

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent


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Court annuls concession procedure

Port of Douala Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port of Douala Container Terminal


The fate of the Douala Container terminal appears to be back in limbo as a result of a court order annulling the procedure used in awarding the concession for the Douala Bonabéri port’s container terminal.

The ruling by the Douala-based Administrative Court of the Littoral region effectively suspends the recent appointment of MSC’s Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) to operate the container terminal and results from a complaint by the Bolloré group subsidiary, Douala International Terminal (DIT), claiming irregularities with the process.

During the first phase of the selection process involving expressions of interest, APMT Terminals BV/Bolloré SA group (DIT) was ranked 7 out of 9 candidates, a ranking that the group challenged in Cameroonian and international courts.

Following the court’s decision, the Autonomous Port of Douala (PAD) has announced that it has taken possession of the container terminal as from 31 December 2019, which marks the end of DIT’s 15-year concession. This action is taken on a renewable 1-year term. PAD has also invited DIT to liquidate the rights of nearly 400 employees at the terminal.

In terms of the laws and regulations of Cameroon, in particular Article 42 of the Labour Code, the end of DIT’s concession must lead to a transfer of all personnel to Régie du Terminal à Conteneurs (RTC, newly created entity by the port authority to replace DIT), unless the employee chooses otherwise.

In a statement the port authority announced: “This decision, which does not choose a new concessionaire, reinforces the Autonomous Port of Douala in the resumption of the activities of its terminal through the delegated management, created on 6 December 2019, by a resolution of the Board of Directors of the PAD, for the continuity of public services.”

It is understood that political pressure was applied involving Cameroon’s President Paul Biya asking the Douala port authority to halt talks with TIL, a ‘request’ that followed a meeting between the president and the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Régie du Terminal à Conteneur (RTC), has therefore commenced operating Douala container terminal as from 1 January, 2020. DIT, which has held the concession to run the terminal since 2005, has so far declined to make any comment.

In an effort to improve the popularity of these sudden developments, port tariffs under the RTC have been cut by 10% in order to attract business to the Douala terminal.

An additional consideration with the concession to operate the terminal lies with the Cameroon Government announcing plans for a second Douala container terminal. The port of Douala already faces internal competition from the nearby deepwater port of Kribi, which provides a draught of 16.1 metres compared with 8.5m at Douala.

The concessioning tender process was launched in January 2018, and when a shortlist of five terminal operators was announced, the name of DIT (APMT Terminals BV/Bolloré SA group) was not included. The five bidders shortlisted were: MSC’s Swiss-based Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), CMA Terminals, DP World, Hutchison Port Holdings and Red Sea Gateway Terminal. TIL was eventually selected to operate the terminal.


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IRClass logo featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS


The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) received major shipping accolades in December (2019), cementing its growing influence as an international ship classification society as the year draws to a close.

Lloyd’s List

IRClass continued to be featured in Lloyd’s List’s Top 10 classification societies 2019, validating its growing presence across the Asia Pacific region and Europe as it adds Cyprus, the Netherlands, Malta and Bulgaria to an expanding list of flag administrations that have authorised IRClass as a Recognised Organisation.

Mr Arun Sharma of the Indian Register of Shipping, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

IRClass’ Executive Chairman, Mr Arun Sharma (illustrated), was cited in Lloyd’s List’s Top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry, an annual ranking of top industry personalities across various maritime businesses including shipowning, ship operating, finance, insurance, regulations and registries.

Mr Sharma was also included in the publication’s Top 10 in regulation 2019, a listing of the most significant actors in regulation that affect shipping. Mr Sharma concurrently serves as chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS); the shipping veteran is prioritising regulatory requirements and spearheading IACS’ data-driven policy during his year-long tenure.

Maritime Shipping & Logistics Awards, India

Elsewhere, at the recently-concluded Samudra Manthan Awards 2019, IRClass was recognised as the Classification Society of the year, an award which it also won in 2018. The Samudra Manthan Awards are given to 14 different maritime sectors and additional awards are given to exceptional individuals and organisations who have contributed to the maritime industry.

Commenting on the recent industry accolades, Mr Sharma said: “These awards bestowed upon us, attest to the professionalism and dedication of my colleagues who have built IRClass to what it is today. We will continue to build on our achievements to deliver even greater value to the communities we serve.”

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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Target Collaborative Development of Advanced Bulk Carrier Designs

Representatives of IRClass and FMT signing the cooperation agreement at Marintec China, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Representatives of IRClass and FMT signing the cooperation agreement at Marintec China


It was reported earlier in December that Further Marine Technology Co Ltd, (FMT) and the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) have signed an MOU on strategic cooperation.

By combining the two companies’ knowledge and networks it is understood that FMT and IRClass are targeting development of the latest generation of bulk carrier designs to expand the business in the South East Asian market.

This development will take an outset in the successful 8,000 dwt Mini Bulk Carrier designed by FMT and classed by IRClass in 2018 – 2019 for an Indian steel and infrastructure giant. By combining the available development capability in FMT and IRClass, the two partners aim to create designs offering higher performance.

This MOU, which was signed at Marintec China, aims to leverage advanced technological capabilities towards the future development of the shipbuilding and shipping industries. FMT and IRClass consider the new collaboration as a springboard for further pursuit of new business opportunities.

Speaking at the event, Mr H V Ramesh, Senior Principal Surveyor and Vice President, IRClass, commented: “This MOU paves the way to work towards development of efficient shipping with focus on environmentally sustainable designs.”

Mr John Chao, CEO, FMT added: “FMT thanks IRClass for the great support to the current bulk carrier project being built in China. We believe the signed MOU today will lead us to a brilliant future co-operation of both companies towards development in China and all over the world.”

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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Contracts to Advance Autonomous Underwater Systems

An artist’s concept of Angler. Illustration from ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
An artist’s concept of Angler. Illustration from ©


Six US companies will work toward robotic solutions to navigate ocean depths, manipulate objects on sea floor

In the US the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded six contracts for work on the Angler programme, which aims to pioneer the next generation of autonomous underwater robotic systems capable of physical intervention in the deep ocean environment.

It is understood that this class of future unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) must overcome reliance on GPS and human intervention to support infrastructure establishment, maintenance, and resilience over the vastness of the ocean.

Furthermore, the Angler programme seeks to merge breakthroughs in terrestrial and space robotics, as well as underwater sensing, to develop autonomous robotic solutions capable of navigating and surveying ocean depths, and physically manipulating human-made objects of interest.

Three companies will perform in Track A, focused on developing an integrated solution for all challenges in the Angler technology and operational areas. These are:


Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation

L3Harris Technologies

Three companies will perform in Track B, focused on developing solutions specific to the fields of navigation, autonomy, and perception. They are:




It is reported that the Angler programme envisions numerous benefits, including:

* Establishing functionality for long-duration mission navigation and autonomy deprived of GPS and surface-based communication;

* Providing a first-of-its-kind long-distance undersea manipulation platform capable of fully autonomous operation; and

* Advancing perception systems to enable grasping underwater objects in degraded undersea environments.

It has been reported that the programme is targeting three phases of development, culminating with a fully integrated prototype completing an underwater mission in a dynamic, open ocean environment.


For sixty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.

The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that, from that time forward, it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises.

Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also such icons of modern civilian society such as the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and Global Positioning System receivers small enough to embed in myriad consumer devices.

DARPA comprises approximately 220 government employees in six technical offices, including nearly 100 programme managers, who together oversee about 250 research and development programmes.

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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Products tanker HAPPY LADY, attacked by pirates and crew kidnapped. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Products tanker HAPPY LADY, attacked by pirates and crew kidnapped. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

Continuing the spate of attacks on ships in or near the Gulf of Guinea in recent weeks, pirates have attacked the 2013-built oil and chemical products tanker HAPPY LADY (IMO 9644225) in the Limboh Terminal Anchorage 3.3 nautical miles from the Cameron shore, in position 03°58’N – 009°05’E.

This latest attack was at 23h15 UTC while the 51,390-dwt, 183-metre long tanker was at anchor. Details remain unclear but the pirates boarded the vessel and when departing took away with them eight of the crew – five Greek nationals, two Filipino and one Ukrainian seafarers.

See other pirate attack reports during December 2019 HERE; HERE; HERE; HERE; and CLICK HERE.


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Shipping emission pollution, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The global maritime transport industry has submitted a proposal to form the world’s first collaborative shipping R&D programme to help eliminate CO2 emissions from international shipping. The proposal includes core funding from shipping companies across the world of about US$5 billion over a 10-year period.

Highlights of the proposal:

* A new non-governmental Research & Development organisation to pave the way for decarbonisation of shipping.
* Core funding from shipping companies across the world of about USD 5 billion over a 10-year period.
* To accelerate the development of commercially viable zero-carbon emission ships by the early 2030s.

International maritime transport carries around 90 percent of global trade and is currently responsible for approximately 2 percent of the world’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions. To achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate change goals, rapid decarbonisation is vital – also for international shipping. It is shipping’s global regulator, the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), which has responsibility for regulating the reduction of CO2 emissions by international shipping.

The industry-wide move to accelerate R&D is necessary to ensure the ambitious CO2 reduction targets agreed to by IMO Member States in 2018 are met.

These ambitious IMO targets include an absolute cut in the sector’s total greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50 percent by 2050, regardless of trade growth, with full decarbonisation shortly after. The 2050 target will require a carbon efficiency improvement of up to 90 percent, which is incompatible with a continued long-term use of fossil fuels by commercial shipping.

Meeting the IMO GHG reduction goals will require the deployment of new zero-carbon technologies and propulsion systems, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, fuel cells, batteries and synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources. These do not yet exist in a form or scale that can be applied to large commercial ships, especially those engaged in transoceanic voyages and which are currently dependent on fossil fuels.

The shipping industry is proposing the establishment of an International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), a non-governmental R&D organisation that would be overseen by IMO Member States.

The IMRB will be financed by shipping companies worldwide via a mandatory R&D contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel purchased for consumption by shipping companies worldwide, which will generate about $5 billion in core funding over a 10-year period.

This $5 billion in core funding over a 10-year period generated from the contributions is critical to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonise the shipping sector and to catalyse the deployment of commercially viable zero-carbon ships by the early 2030s.

Although the R&D programme and its funding is an initiative of the leading international shipowners’ associations, additional stakeholders’ participation is welcomed. A global fund can be established quickly, and the shipping industry is confident that other stakeholders will also want to contribute, potentially generating substantial additional funding for R&D.

In a proposal to the UN IMO, the industry has set out details for governance and funding of the coordinated R&D programme, which can be put in place by 2023 via amendments to the existing IMO Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The shipping industry’s proposal will be discussed by governments in London at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in March 2020.

The international shipowner associations making this proposal, which collectively represent all sectors and trades and over 90% of the world merchant fleet, are:

BIMCO; Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); Intercargo; Interferry; International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); Intertanko; International Parcel Tankers Association; World Shipping Council.

[Posted 30 December 2019 21h15]


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As the year comes to a close, it is time to take a look back at some of the most memorable images of 2019 for the UK Armed Forces issued over 2019.

From the dust and dirt of a warzone to the gleaming uniforms of a parade, military and MOD civilian photographers captured the images that show the reality of life for UK servicemen and women.

Many who captured these images are servicemen and women first and photographers second, deploying with their rifle as well as their camera, taking the same risks as others but also giving the public a unique, candid view of the realities of conflict. Away from operations they also capture the day-to-day reality of military life.

We have pleasure in publishing here a representative selection of images relative to the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines taken in 2019

All images MoD Crown Copyright 2019 ©

Compiled by Paul Ridgway
with grateful thanks for the provision of images throughout the year

Images appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS Images courtesy of UK MoD

Image shows UK F-35 Lightning jets onboard Britain’s next generation aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. HMS Dragon, a Type 45 Destroyer is also seen here in the background.

Flown by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots, the Lightning jets were embarking in the 65,000 tonne carrier to conduct operational trials off the East Coast of the USA.

This follows successful developmental trials last year (2018) with US Lightning jets, where forces conducted 500 take offs and landings over their 11-week period at sea.

These trials were aimed at ‘end-to-end’ testing of the aircraft and personnel to ensure the aircraft are compatible with the carrier. The tests involved mission planning, arming the aircraft using the ship’s Highly Automated Weapon Handling System, flying missions and debriefing on completion.

The landings on HMS Queen Elizabeth were part of the WESTLANT 19 Carrier Strike Group deployment. Once fully operational, UK Carrier Strike Group will be a formidable force around the world, using a number of platforms to work alongside our allies.

During this time, the aircraft carrier was escorted by Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon, submarine hunter HMS Northumberland, tanker RFA Tideforce and Merlin helicopters from 814, 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons, Wildcats from 815 squadron and Royal Marines from Lima Company, 42 Commando.


Images appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS Images courtesy of UK MoD

He can’t walk on water, but ‘rocket man’ Richard Browning can hop and glide over it as he demonstrated how the Royal Navy might use such a suit.

The inventor, test pilot and former Royal Marines Reservist headed into the Solent with fast patrol boat HMS Dasher and a couple of boats to test his jet-powered body suit over the water for the first time.

On 26 July 2019 HMS Dasher, a P2000 patrol vessel, went to sea with the Gravity X team to conduct the technology firms’ first trial of flying their jet powered body suit at sea. The purpose of this trial was to test the suit in a maritime environment from a naval platform in order to provide a basic understanding of how the two worlds communicate and work together.

Deemed a great success, the trial has allowed the Gravity X team to gain a better understanding of the ability and limitations of their equipment and gives them valuable information to further develop the concept of the equipment for a military environment. It has offered a great baseline for further trials to be conducted from larger warships in the future.


Images appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS Images courtesy of UK MoD

Image spelling out ‘Lest We Forget’ on the four acre flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, includes a poppy formed around UK F-35B Lightning jets which are conducting operational trials onboard, ahead of the ship’s first operational deployment in 2021.

850 members of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ship’s company and embarked squadrons at the time deployed in America staged a spectacular display to mark Armistice Day off the US East Coast and remember the two nations’ war dead.

This service included the reading of the Naval Roll of Honour and a bagpiper played ‘Flowers of the Forest’ as wreaths were laid on behalf of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, British Army, HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Commonwealth (20 nations represented onboard) and US forces.


Images appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS Images courtesy of UK MoD

Image of RFA Tideforce conducting a Replenishment At Sea (RAS) with USS Truxton on 11 November 2019, during WESTLANT 19 off the coast of the United States as part of joint exercises with the US and UK Carrier Strike Group.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was bound for the east coast of the USA for operational trials. For the first time, UK fighter jets joined this state-of-the-art ship in a significant milestone for the programme.

The deployment, known as ‘WESTLANT 19,’ saw the carrier conduct ‘Operational Testing’, with British F-35B Lightning jets embarked for the first time as she moved closer to her first operational deployment in 2021.

Operational Testing is designed to put the jets, ship and supporting units through their paces. The tests allowed the equipment and crew to operate under realistic warfighting scenarios to ready them for their first operational deployment.

This deployment represented the continued positive relationship between the UK and US units from the United States Navy, US Air Force and US Marine Corps in the ‘WESTLANT 19’ deployment, further demonstrating the close partnership between the two NATO allies.

While at sea, HMS Queen Elizabeth was accompanied by other units of the Commander UK Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG) including Type-45 destroyer HMS Dragon, a Type-23 frigate HMS Northumberland and air assets from the Carrier Air Wing. RFA Tideforce provided tanker support to the Strike Group.


Images appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS Images courtesy of UK MoD

Image shows a stacked three-ship of UK F-35Bs during the second wave of exercise Lightning Dawn.

The deployment of six Royal Air Force F-35B Lightnings on Exercise LIGHTNING DAWN, flying from RAF Marham, to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

The F-35s departed as a trio in two separate waves. Each wave was supported by an Airbus A330 MRRT Voyager flown by 10 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton, which transited with the jets, refuelling them numerous times to ensure they could make it to Akrotiri.

The aim of Exercise LIGHTNING DAWN was to fly the F-35B away from its home base of RAF Marham in Norfolk (England, East Coast), while also examining the logistical aspects of such a deployment.


Images appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS Images courtesy of UK MoD

Image of a Royal Marine from 40 Commando, about to slide into icy water, during an ice breaking drill in Norway.

During the first week of training on Exercise Aquila 19 Royal Marines from 40 Commando and Commando Logistics Regiment focussed on the basics of survival in such a harsh environment. In the Article Circle, the sun barely rises beyond dawn and dusk, survival is very difficult with temperatures as low as -29°C.

[posted 30 December 2019 10h58]


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Suspected mothership Determination 2 under previous ownership as Saruhan Serdar. Picture: Nesa / MarineTraffic, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Suspected mothership Determination 2 under previous ownership as Saruhan Serdar. Picture: Nesa / MarineTraffic


The LNG carrier LNG LOKOJA (IMO 9269960) of 98,798-gt has come under attack while underway 65 nautical miles North-West of Sao Tome.

Dryad Global reports that the LNG tanker was approached on Saturday, 28 December in position 01°19’N, 006°02’E while sailing to Bonny in Nigeria. The 2006-built tanker, with a length of 288 metres and a width of 43m received gunfire from a single speedboat carrying ten armed men, who fired at the tanker which conducted evasive manoeuvres that resulted in the pirates breaking off the attack.

Having sounded the alert the LNG Lokoja was later met by the Nigerian patrol vessel DEFENDER VI and the Portuguese Navy vessel ZAIRE which provided an escort of the tanker as the vessel continued towards Bonny.

Dryad further reports that this incident was the eighth to occur beyond the eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ during 2019. Of these incidents, four resulted in kidnapping of crew, one vessel was highjacked and the other three were failed attacks.

According to Dryad these attacks occurring along the eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ and beyond are an indication of a well-resourced pirate action group possibly operating from a mother ship and aware of the limitations of security force protection in the area beyond the Nigerian EEZ.


In further news it is reported that the 22,625-dwt bulk carrier VINALINES MIGHTY (IMO 9335458)  was attacked by pirates while sailing between Douala and Greenville, Liberia. Vinalines Mighty is owned and managed by Vinalines Shipping of Hanoi, Vietnam and flies the Vietnamese flag.

The attack occurred 143 nautical miles North-West of Sao Tome in position 01 55.8N 004 45.6E. Dryad Global reports that three pirates managed to board the 153-metre long, 26m wide ship earlier today, Monday 30 December 2019. It is reported that all crew are safe which suggests that the pirates may have left the bulker.

[Update posted 30 December 2019 21h52]

Mothership identity

In an update to the report carried HERE Dryad Global in partnership with has re-identified the mothership suspected of providing support for the pirates who attacked the tanker ISTANBUL, as probably being the tanker MT DETERMINATION 2 (IMO 820104).

In the earlier report the mothership was thought to have been another tanker named ADELINE JUMBO (IMO 9712424).

The 3250-dwt oil and chemical products tanker Determination 2 was built in 1984 and was previously named Saruhan Serdar. The vessel was owned and managed by Pacific Merchant Co of Cotonou, Benin prior to her being highjacked by pirates.

[sources: Dryad Global,,]
[story posted 29 December 2019, 22h22]



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Cyclone Calvinia 05S, map Mauritius Meteorological Services
map: Mauritius Meteorological Services



AT 22H00 (Mauritius time) on Monday 30 December 2019 the Tropical Cyclone Calvinia was situated as per the chart below, 70km East of Mauritius.

CALVINIA remains a severe tropical storm of small diameter. Gusts of the order of 130 km/h exist in a radius of 40 km around the centre. A movement towards the west could bring the centre closer to Mauritius and cyclonic conditions, that is gusts of the order of 120 km/h, could be felt over the island. Thus, CALVINIA remains a threat for Mauritius.

A cyclone warning Class III is in force in Mauritius.

Active cloud bands associated with CALVINIA continue to influence the weather over Mauritius. Weather will remain rainy over the whole island. The rain, at times heavy and thundery, will cause water accumulation and localised flooding. It is strictly advised not to venture along banks of flooded rivers and other water courses.

The public in Mauritius is advised to maintain all precautions.  The sea will be high.  Ventures at sea are strictly not advised.  source: Mauritius Meteorological Services.

Severe Tropical Storm CALVINIA

Date and Time 30 December 2019 10 PM Distance from Mauritius 70km E
Position 20.8°S 58.1°E Distance from Rodrigues 550 km WNW
Estimated Central Pressure 980 hPa Distance from St Brandon 520 km S
Movement QUASI-STATIONARY Distance from Agalega 1210 km SSE
Remarks The severe tropical storm CALVINIA is making a loop.


The tropical storm previously reported as 96S has intensified into a moderate tropical storm (cyclone) which is named CALVINIA 05S by the Mauritius Meteorological Services. The cyclone is moving in a general South-South-Westerly direction at about 20km/h.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported Cyclone Calvinia 05S as in position near 19.7S 59.7E at 15h00 approximately 145 nautical miles East-Northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius. The cyclone had tracked SSW at 14 knots in the previous six hours on Friday 29 December 2019. Maximum sustained winds of 35kots were reported, gusting to 45 knots.

TC Calvinia is in a favorable environment with good poleward outflow, moderate (15-20 knots) vertical wind shear and warm (27028 Celsius) sea temperatures. In the near term the storm is expected to continue tracking South-SouthWestward but following this Calvinia will turn to a Siouth-SouthEastward track. Maximum wave height was 15 feet.

At 16h00 TC Calvinia 95S was 275km ENE of Mauritius, 360km WNW of Rodrigues, and 260km SSE of St Brandon island.

Sources: JTWC and Mauritius Meteorological Services
[Posted 29 December 21h00, updated 30 December 21h28)


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SA Agulhas departing Cape Town on her 2018 training voyage to the ice, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SA Agulhas in Antarctica on her similar 2018 training voyage to the ice


The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s first dedicated training vessel, departed today, Friday, 27 December 2019, on a Southern Ocean scientific research voyage with an all-female cadet complement.

The 20 South African female maritime cadets with various experience and qualifications will spend the next 80 days at sea earning their sea time. The cadets hail from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. Their mission will be to gain as much experience as they can in an accelerated environment.

The cadets will be under the supervision of two female training officers who will oversee their intense tuition for the entire voyage. Two of the cadets will likely qualify for the Officer of the Watch exam after earning sufficient sea time during this voyage. For several of the cadets, this voyage will be the first time away from home and will be their first ever training opportunity at sea.

SAMSA Acting CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi emphasised the importance of this particular voyage. “It is important that we use every opportunity we get to open up the maritime industry to all, this voyage is proof that South Africa is on-board with the international drive to empower women and is committed to do away with the notion that the maritime industry is a male dominated industry,” Tilayi said.

The vessel will also be carrying scientists representing the Indian National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR). The primary objective of the voyage is research and scientific exploration. The duration of the voyage is expected to be approximately 80 days.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) unveiled the SA Agulhas as South Africa’s first ever training vessel in support of the National Cadet Programme in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training via the National Skills Fund on 4 July 2012 in Cape Town.

The vessel plays a key role in aligning with the Operation Phakisa initiative of accelerating seafarer training and ensuring that South Africa produces world class seafarers. SA Agulhas was retired from its service as a research vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and acquired by SAMSA for the training of maritime cadets.

The vessel has continued to be used for research and as a platform to conduct targeted Maritime Careers Awareness campaigns and hands on training.

[Story posted 27 December, 15h30]


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Transaid end of year report featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

From London-based Caroline Barber CEO, Transaid*

Road Safety

“In addition to training a total of 9,600 students as part of our Professional Driver Training programmes in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, this year we also embarked on a new road safety project involving motorcycles and three-wheelers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Together with non-governmental organisation Amend, we researched the use of motorcycles and three-wheelers in providing rural access to services.

Our findings indicated that these vehicles do indeed play a vital role in connecting rural communities: we even heard stories of women giving birth on the back of motorcycles on their way to hospital. Equipped with a better understanding of access patterns in the DRC, we hope to improve road safety standards in the country going forward.”

Access to healthcare

“You may remember that at the end of 2018 we announced the scale-up of our successful MAMaZ Against Malaria (MAM) programme, after the pilot recorded a staggering 96% reduction in child mortality from malaria.

This year (2019) we got to work expanding the programme into 200 communities across five districts in Zambia, increasing our target population from 54,000 to 280,000 people.

One of these new beneficiaries is Gilbert from Chitambo, one of the new districts included in the MAM scale-up. When Gilbert contracted malaria, he was diagnosed and administered rectal artesunate (RAS) by a local Community Health Volunteer, later going on to make a full recovery.”

Transaid end of year message 2019 featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The Appeal

“Since its launch in October, our Christmas appeal has gone from strength to strength, largely thanks to the incredible response from the transport and logistics industry. Our corporate phase of the appeal was our most successful yet, raising a record £32,440. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.

However, we are still looking for generous individuals to help us reach our individual target of £2,000, which will be put towards the MAM scale-up to help more children like Gilbert. We have set ourselves this target to make the most of an exciting match-funding opportunity, which means that every penny received will be doubled.

To readers I say thank you for being a part of our journey and making these achievements possible.

I hope you have a wonderful festive break and I look forward to sharing more updates with you in 2020, as we continue to transform lives through safe, available and sustainable transport.”

Edited by Paul Ridgway

* Transaid transforms lives through safe, available, and sustainable transport.
Founded by Save the Children, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), and its Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, the international development organisation shares 25 years’ worth of expertise in 23 countries with partners and governments – empowering people to build the skills they need to transform their own lives.
A concise report of Transaid’s activities and achievements, followed by a full set of audited accounts can be found HERE
[Story posted 27 December, 11h45]


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Cyclone alart 96S, 569 miles NNW of Mauritius, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

A storm system with the potential of becoming a cyclone is currently situated 569 nautical miles North-NorthWest of Mauritius at position 11.3S 54.3E.

96S is described as in a marginally favourable environment for development into a cyclone condition, with moderate to high (20-30 knots)vertical wind shear in the northern periphery and low (15 knots) in the southern periphery of the weather condition. Favourable sea surface temperatures also exist.

Global models suggest that 96S will consolidate and strengthen as it tracks South-Southeastward. Maximum sustained surface winds are estimated at 15 to 20 knots, minimum sea level pressure is estimated to be near 1005 MB.

According to Joint Typhoon Warning Centre the potential for the development of a significant cyclone within the next 24 hours has been upgraded to medium. source: JTWC

[Story posted 27 December, 08h45]


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Pirate flag featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Dryad Global has issued a report of a probable pirate mother ship underway in the Gulf of Guinea, immediately following the unsuccessful attack on the Turkish tanker ISTANBUL – see Pirates attack tanker Istanbul SW of Brass

The two attacks on the tanker Istanbul occurred yesterday (24 December 2019) and afterwards the skiff/speedboat used by the armed pirates was seen heading towards what was believed to be a mother vessel.

Now another report by Dryad Global says that two speedboats have been spotted heading towards an orange/red-hulled chemical products tanker believed to be acting as the pirates’ mother vessel.

It is thought that the tanker in question is the Nigerian-flagged chemical tanker ADELINE JUMBO (IMO 9712424) which has been assessed as having been involved as a mother vessel in the attack and theft of cargo from the MT PANTELENA, 27 nautical miles north-west of Port LIbreville on 18 August 2019.

Dryad advises that all vessels should proceed with extreme caution and report all such sightings of a vessel of this description. Dryad clients can share reports with the Dryad Global analytical team via

[story posted 25 December 2019]


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UK troops send their loved one’s messages for Christmas

Lance Corporal Lenachan, of 901 Expeditionary Air Wing in the Middle East is sorting through the Christmas post that has recently arrived via the Royal Air Force airbridge with the UK. Here there is ingoing and outgoing post, especially for important welfare packages, for all the British service personnel in that part of the theatre. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright 2019 ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Lance Corporal Lenachan, of 901 Expeditionary Air Wing in the Middle East is sorting through the Christmas post that has recently arrived via the Royal Air Force airbridge with the UK. Here there is ingoing and outgoing post, especially for important welfare packages, for all the British service personnel in that part of the theatre. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright 2019 ©

At this time of the year shore side postal services are working hard to keep up with the Festive demand and to ensure that the nation’s sailors, soldiers and airmen are well supplied with mail.

Two days before Christmas the (UK) Ministry of Defence reported that thousands of Armed Forces personnel who are working across the globe to help keep Britain safe at home and abroad have begun to send Christmas messages home.

While families at home celebrate Christmas, UK troops are involved in 35 operations in more than 30 countries across the world in many time zones from Somalia and South Sudan to Estonia and Afghanistan.

In total 14 warships will be at sea from Type 45 Destroyer HMS Defender and Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose in the Gulf to survey ship HMS Enterprise in the Pacific. Since 1969 the UK has had a submarine on patrol for every minute of every day, providing the UK’s nuclear deterrent and this Christmas is no different.

In the South Atlantic, over 1,000 personnel are stationed in the Falkland Islands. Whilst in the Caribbean, RFA Mounts Bay has been on alert over the hurricane season and remains overseas.

In total around 11,000 sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and airwomen are serving on operations overseas.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace commented: “Over the festive period we should all take a moment to be grateful for the selflessness of our armed forces personnel and their families at this time of year. This Christmas, like any other day, our servicemen and women will be displaying their unique professionalism around the world and at home.

“I know from my own experience what it is like to ‘stag on’ over Christmas and New Year and my thoughts are with all who are not at home with their families at this time. To the entire Armed Forces community, I wish you all the happiest possible Christmas and thank you for your remarkable service in 2019.”

Commodore Jim Perks, Commodore of the Faslane Flotilla added: “As the year in which we commemorate 50 years of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent closes, our deployed submariners continue to deliver an outstanding service, as they have done for the past 50 years, over another Christmas with no contact with their loved ones. I would like to wish a Merry Christmas and a big thank you and well done to all Submariners and their families, whether at home or on operations.”

Another navy, another ocean, here a sailor sorts Priority Mail Boxes aboard USS Boxer while underway in the Gulf of Aden. US Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Ann Hattell. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Another navy, another ocean, here a sailor sorts Priority Mail Boxes aboard USS Boxer while underway in the Gulf of Aden. US Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Ann Hattell. USN ©

The Armed Forces will also be busy at home. As ever the Squadrons of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert will be on duty at RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby. On duty at home will be troops of the Household Division keeping guard outside Royal residences in London and Windsor. Currently around 1000 personnel from all three services are stationed in Iraq and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus working to fight Daesh and train the local security forces. Almost 1,000 personnel from all three services are in Afghanistan training Britain’s allies.

In Europe, 150 UK personnel of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are deployed in Poland and around 850 British personnel of the Queen’s Royal Hussars are deployed in Estonia on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) deployment offering reassurance to the UK’s Allies. The Prime Minister visited the base in Estonia on 21 December to celebrate Christmas with the troops based there.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

[story posted 24 December 2019]


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Boarding party from HMS Defender approaching the suspect motorised dhow. featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Boarding party from HMS Defender approaching the suspect motorised dhow

On 19 December, Her Majesty’s Ship HMS DEFENDER, a UK Royal Navy destroyer operating in the Gulf of Oman in direct support of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), seized 131 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from a dhow they had been following.

The suspicious vessel was first detected using DEFENDER’s ‘Wildcat’ shipborne helicopter. Defender then closed the dhow and a team of Royal Marine Commandos in Pacific 24 sea boats boarded and secured the vessel. It was then searched by a Royal Navy boarding team who found 11 packages of narcotics, with an estimated regional wholesale value of US$280,000.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, Cdr Richard Hewitt MBE said: “I am really proud that Defender has been able to interdict such a significant quantity of drugs and prevent it reaching the streets. Even over the festive season, the Royal Navy is at sea 24/7 working as part of Combined Task Force 150. This has been a real boost for the ship’s company as they face Christmas away from their loved ones.”

With the navy ship's helicopter overhead the dhow is approached, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
With the navy ship’s helicopter overhead the dhow is approached

HMS Defender’s haul, on their first day working under Combined Maritime Forces, is CTF150’s largest interdiction of crystal methamphetamine for 2019; more than doubling the amount seized so far. It takes CTF150’s overall narcotics seizures this year to $48.5m.

“This is the second narcotics shipment in a week we’ve kept from reaching its destination,” said Commodore Ray Leggatt, Royal Australian Navy, Commander of CTF 150. “With this action, and more to come, we are impacting terrorists’ ability to operate in this region and around the world. Well done to the crew of HMS Defender for their keen eye, skill, and precision in prosecuting this high seas take down.”

Australia assumed command of CTF 150 in early December, with a staff made up of personnel from the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, and Royal New Zealand navies. HMS Defender’s success under their command follows that of French Ship Courbet last weekend, who seized 3,545kg of hashish with an estimated regional wholesale value of $1.8m.

CTF150 has seen a huge increase in the amount of crystal methamphetamine being smuggled year on year, with 257kg interdicted to date in 2019, versus only 9kg in 2018.

CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt terrorist organisations and their related illegal activities by restricting their freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. The activities of CTF 150 are a critical part of global counter-terrorism efforts, as terrorist organisations are denied a risk-free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics and charcoal.

The ship's company poses with the haul of contraband seized from the dhow. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The ship’s company poses with the haul of contraband seized from the dhow.
[story posted 24 December 2019]


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Pirates at sea

The 149,989-dwt crude oil tanker ISTANBUL (IMO 9593012, built 2015), registered in Malta and owned and managed by Turkish interests, came under attack from a single high speed skiff with nine armed men on board.

The attack took place in position 01 deg 47N 004 deg 28E with the 273-metre long, 48m wide vessel underway about 180 nautical miles SW of Brass, Nigeria.

Dryad reports the tanker as having conducted evasive manoeuvres and after two attempts to board the pirates were seen to withdraw to a mothership vessel. Details of the latter are not available.

The crew and the tanker remained unharmed and were able to continue on their way.

The unsuccessful attack took place today, 24 December 2019. source: Dryad Global and APS

[story posted 24 December 2019]


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Tropic Dawn. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Tropic Dawn. Picture: Wikipedia

The audacity and daring of West African pirates shows no bounds, with security forces across the region seemingly unable to cope.

In the latest atrocity, the captain of a locally operated cargo ship, TROPIC DAWN (IMO 9404132) was killed after pirates boarded his ship in Libreville harbour.

The pirate attack took place on Sunday 22 December 2019 when armed men boarded no less than four vessels, including two locally-operated fishing vessels and two cargo ships.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed the latter at a media conference, saying: “On December 22 local time, four unidentified armed robbers attacked two fishing boats belonging to Sigapeche [a local Gabonese company but possibly Chinese-owned trawlers*] and took four sailors of Chinese nationality with them. Their whereabouts are not yet known at this moment. The Chinese embassy in Gabon has asked the Gabonese side to act swiftly to find out what happened, launch a rescue operation, and spare no efforts to free the Chinese sailors. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

The attacks took place at around 03h00 on Sunday morning, local time when the pirates boarded the four vessels – the two Sigapeche fishing vessels mentioned above, the freighter AFRICAN LAMLIA and the second cargo vessel, the landing craft TROPIC DAWN (1886-dwt), owned and managed by Satram Marine of Libreville.

In the attack and boarding of Tropic Dawn the ship’s master, Ayma Mboumba Mbina, was killed by the pirates.

When leaving the vessels, four seafarers of Chinese origin were abducted from one of the trawlers which was awaiting a licence to fish in Gabonese waters.

* The Chinese trawlers are part of a joint venture between the local company Sigapeche and Chinese fishing operators, usually Chinese government owned.

These latest attacks within the reaches of the Gabonese port illustrate the inability – or unwillingness – of West African nations to come to terms with the ongoing acts of piracy in their waters. Although the Niger delta has been observed as the epicentre of these crimes, of late the pirates have been active further afield in Cameroonian and Equatorial waters and westwards off Benin and Togo.

Another tendency that has emerged especially during 2019 is the kidnapping of crew for ransoming purposes. Such activities require the collaboration of individuals and firms in places like Europe or the Middle East to conclude the financial arrangements for the release of abducted crew, which can be concluded as quickly as within three to four weeks on occasion.

The piracy off the East African Somalia coast provided ample evidence of collaboration from other regions, with suggestions that certain organisations were benefiting from their role in the release of seafarers – was action ever taken against those in Europe and elsewhere as collaborators of piracy, or were their activities written-off as essential to the well-being and release of capture crew?


The landing craft cargo vessel Tropic Dawn. Picture: Vesseltracker, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The landing craft cargo vessel Tropic Dawn.   Picture: Vesseltracker
[story posted 24 December 2019]


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Map of Gough Island. Wikipedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Map of Gough Island: Wikipedia Commons

Gough Island, in the middle of the South Atlantic, needs urgent help. It has been reported that well over two million seabird chicks are lost every year, pushing some species towards extinction. Chicks are killed by an invasive non-native species of house mouse that was introduced to Gough by humans.

Now the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Tristan da Cunha Government have developed an ambitious programme of conservation action.

In 2020 rodenticide bait will be spread across Gough Island, eradicating the mice and restoring Gough to its natural state. This action will prevent the deaths of defenceless chicks year after year, halting decline and allowing populations to bounce back.

Chris Jones, Senior Gough Field Assistant said, “We have known for more than a decade that the mice on Gough Island attack and kill seabird chicks. While this is already of great concern, attacks on adults, which can produce dozens of chicks in their lifetime, could be devastating for the populations’ chances of survival of these long-lived seabirds. It’s a terrible development, and these gentle giants could now be lost even more rapidly than we first predicted.”

Albatross on Gough island, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPSfeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS,
Albatross on Gough Island


Updates on work to restore two remote islands under threat from invasive non-native species, Gough Island and Henderson Island, and news from the wider world of island restoration are available on the latest RSPB / Bird Life International Newsletter, Issue 5 of December 2019 is now to be found by CLICKING HERE

In its opening paragraph Beccy Speight Chief Executive of RSPB comments: “The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are home to biodiversity of global importance; indeed, an estimated 90% of biodiversity for which the UK is responsible is found in these far-flung islands, including more penguins than any other nation on earth and some of the world’s largest colonies of albatross. Gough Island, part of Tristan da Cunha, located in the South Atlantic, hosts one of the world’s greatest seabird colonies – over 10 million birds – for which it has been designated as a World Heritage Site.

“Gough is described by UNESCO as ‘one of the most pristine environments left on earth’. It is home to particularly spectacular and unique species, such as the Critically Endangered Tristan albatross, near endemic Atlantic petrels and the Gough bunting, a species with only around 500 breeding pairs and found on this 65sq km island alone. Yet even here, the impact of humans is ever more visible: invasive non-native mice, introduced some 200 years ago by sealers, are now ravaging these seabird populations.”

Mice were accidentally introduced by sailors to the remote Gough Island during the 19th century. Now, over 100 years later mice have learned to exploit the island’s once abundant birds, eating alive the eggs and chicks of as many as 19 different species. The mice can attack chicks up to 300 times their own weight.

The island, a UK World Heritage Site is considered one of the most important seabird colonies in the world, hosting more than ten million birds.

Gough Island black-browed albatross. RSPB Ben Dilley featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Gough Island black-browed albatross. Picture: RSPB Ben Dilley

There are 24 species of bird that nest on the island, 22 of which are seabirds.

Gough Island hosts 99% of the world’s Critically Endangered Tristan albatross and Atlantic petrel populations – two species especially vulnerable to mouse predation because their chicks are left alone in winter. Just 2,000 Tristan albatross pairs now remain.

Video cameras placed alongside nests have revealed what happens. The mice, in groups of up to nine, attack the birds and in the case of chicks can eat them alive. Albatrosses mate for life, producing just one egg every other year. The loss of adult birds will accelerate this tragedy.

The SA connection

South Africa has maintained a weather station, part of its National Antarctic Programme (SANAP: ), continuously on the island since the mid-1950s. Gough Island is a British Overseas Territory and the South African presence of a small weather and environmental staff is by permission and they are the island’s only occupants.

East coast of Gough with Penguin islet 0.8km off the main island coast. Picture: Wikpedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
East coast of Gough with Penguin islet 0.8km off the main island coast. Picture: Wikpedia Commons

International aid

With the help of international partners, Tristan da Cunha Government, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries South Africa, Island Conservation, BirdLife International, BirdLife South Africa, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, and supported by the UK Government, the RSPB will launch an operation to eradicate the mice from Gough in 2020. This will be the RSPB’s largest ever single venture.

Further funding required

Not letting the challenges of working on one of the world’s most remote islands get in the way, the Gough team are planning a £9m endeavour to eradicate mice from Gough Island in 2020. A further £3m is still needed to fully fund the project.

To find out more readers are invited to see:

For film of life in Gough Island and links to other videos see here:




Illustrations reproduced by kind courtesy of RSPB Images © and Wikipedia Commons as indicated

Reported by Paul Ridgway

[story posted 23 December 2019]


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US Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/ Released. USN ©

Photographed on 17 December the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) transits the Atlantic Ocean while the Spanish navy Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate ESPS Alvaro de Bazan (F 101) comes alongside during an inaugural passing exercise with the US Navy’s Destroyer Squadron 60 and the Spanish Navy’s 31st surface squadron.

Carney conducted a refuelling evolution (a VERTREP) with a Spanish navy helicopter during a flight quarters evolution on 18 December in the Atlantic. 191218-N-TI693-1308 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 18, 2019) Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) conduct a refueling evolution with a Spanish Navy helicopter during a flight quarters evolution, Dec. 18, 2019. Carney, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its seventh patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)

Then the ship’s company in Carney conducted a refuelling evolution (a VERTREP) with a Spanish navy helicopter during a flight quarters evolution on 18 December in the Atlantic.

Carney, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its seventh patrol in the US 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners as well as the US national security interests in Europe and Africa.

Pictures above: US Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/ Released. USN ©

Captain Corey Keniston (below), CO of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), discusses on 18 December the dry docking availability for the ship with Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Gregory Slavonic at the Old Dominion Dry Dock at BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia.

Gettysburg is currently undergoing upgrades as part of the Navy’s Service Life Extension Programme for cruisers and landing support dock ships.

191218-N-KH778-4282 NORFOLK (Dec. 18, 2019) Capt. Corey Keniston, commanding officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), discusses the dry docking availability for the ship with Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Gregory Slavonic at the Old Dominion Dry Dock at BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk, Va. Gettysburg is currently undergoing upgrades as part of the Navy's Service Life Extension Program for cruisers and landing support dock ships. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Mckensey Cobb/Released)

US Navy photo (above) by Lieutenant Mckensey Cobb/Released, USN ©

In the South China Sea on 18 December (below) the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) fires its Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise.

At the time McCampbell was underway conducting operations in the Indo-Pacific region while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the US Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the US 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.


US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Beam/Released. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Beam/Released. USN ©

Edited by Paul Ridgway

[story posted 23 December 2019]


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The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)says that growth of the South African Ship Registry is failing to gather speed, due partly to lack of common vision and understanding among State entities.

SAMSA Board Member, Ms Sekabiso Molemane told maritime sector stakeholders during a regular briefing in Durban last week that the organisation had failed to reach targets for ship registration under the South African flag that it has set itself two years ago, adding that this was both ‘deeply disappointing” and “regrettable.’

Ms Sekabiso Molemane. SAMSA Board Member, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Ms Sekabiso Molemane. SAMSA Board Member

Molemane described it as significant that private sector industries had been highly supportive of the Department of Transport’s agency, SAMSA, in its endeavours and instead, the greatest challenges seemed to emanate largely from lack of support by other State agencies; among them the South African Revenue Services.

Both Ms Molemane and SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi went to great detail explaining how the poverty of support from other fellow State agencies or government was negatively affecting SAMSA’s efforts to develop and grow the SA Ship Registry.

“We started the year with enthusiasm, hoping that by this time we’d maybe have 15 ships in our register and we’d have addressed issues of tariffs. But disappointingly, we are still where we were two years ago,” she said.

“It is heartbreaking that, because when we consult with industry and we say we have a situation, it (industry) says, we are here to support you. But unfortunately we have challenges somewhere else. Somewhere else, where we are supposed to unlock, it’s always locked. It is either a change of Ministers, or it is something else. One thing I could not say though is that the industry failed us. I’d be lying,” Ms Molemane added.

She said that the ship registry development was not the only one suffering lack of progress due to poverty of Government and State institutions’ support, but also systems development at SAMSA that both the agency and industry had identified as necessary to strengthen the effective performance of the organisation.

As a direct consequence, issues that could be dealt with in a short period of time, sometimes took longer than necessary for SAMSA to deliver on. Even so, she said, “Let’s not lose heart. Let’s hope that the best will come.”

For Ms Molemane’s full remarks, click on the video below. [3:38]

Port Authority Indifference

Meanwhile, the South African Association of Ship Owners and Agencies (SAASOA), decried what it described as poor progress being made towards enhancing the country’s major ports cargo handling capabilities, citing a seeming apparent indifference by port authorities in addressing the matter.

Mr Peter Besnard, Chief Executive Officer: SAASOA, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Mr Peter Besnard, Chief Executive Officer: SAASOA

SAASOA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Peter Besnard said it was now a matter of public record that the country’s ports poor cargo handling was a problem and which had surfaced as far as back as 2014.

“Without a doubt, it is not something that has happened overnight,” Besnard said. “It has build up over time and I can safely say it started in 2014. But it appears to be overlooked or ignored and the situation has simply worsened. It is not a situation that can be sorted out overnight. It will certainly take a few years and a lot of money to get us back on track to where we were before.”

For Mr Besnard’s full remarks on the subject, click on the video below: [6:16]

Port Regulator

Also sharing some insights into the country’s trade ports state as well as an overview on recent and current developments was Mr Mahesh Fakir, the country’s Ports Regulator.

Mr Mahesh Fakir. SA Ports Regulator, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Mr Mahesh Fakir. SA Ports Regulator

According to Mr Fakir, a major highlight on tariffs this year was a 20% reduction on export containers which he described as intended to enhance the competitiveness of local goods in international markets even as it would impact overall revenue for ports authorities.

“It gives the country that ability to go out there and face the international market at a lower price, and that’s what the country needs as a shot in the arm to take this economy forward,” he said.

The Port Regulator said he believed that the country’s ports could perform even better in cargo handling than is currently the case, were certain configurations made to improve them.

He cited a Colombian model he and senior officials of both SAMSA and the Department of Transport recently observed while attending the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) General Assembly Parallel Event in October 2019.

He described it as a model featuring partial ownership of ports by the State and the private sector – the latter involving individuals in areas where ports are situated.

For his full views on the matter click on the video below. [8:31]


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Naval Island in the Port of Richards Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Naval Island in the Port of Richards Bay, now closed to public

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), has closed off the popular Naval Island recreational area and surrounding sites at the Port of Richards Bay.

As proprietor of the sites and in terms of rule 81 (1) (a) and (b) of the Port Rules of the National Ports Act no.12 of 2005, the closure has come into effect with immediate effect and until further notice, TNPA announced on Wednedsay (18 December).

This comes after ongoing incidents and challenges with inappropriate public use of the sites.

“In terms of the Port Rules, TNPA may close the port from the public in the interest of maintaining safety, security, good order and the protection of the environment.”

The port sites now restricted to the public are Naval Island, the Action Cricket Shed, the Small Craft Harbour and the Dredger Reclaim Berth, near Alkantstrand.

There will be controlled access to restaurants at the Small Craft Harbour to allow actual patrons through while prohibiting uncontrolled loitering in areas such as the parking lots. The grass area in front of the Action Cricket Shed will be closed off to discourage parking, loitering and disorderly behaviour.

“We appreciate that Naval Island and the other sites are popular recreational destinations in Richards Bay, especially over the busy festive holiday period,” said Port Manager, Thami Sithole. “However, there has been recurring inappropriate use of the sites, despite our best efforts to encourage the community to act responsibly and to ensure that the Island is properly maintained.

It is understood that this proposed action will be to the detriment of the broader community and visitors to Richards Bay, however TNPA says it has opted for the higher obligation, which is the preservation of life, protection of its assets and safety of operations.”

Several safety and security incidents have occurred at Naval Island and the associated sites. Loud parties are held at night. Pollution, dumping of waste and litter are ongoing challenges, despite daily litter picking and regular clean-ups by TNPA. Broken glass bottles are a particular problem.

TNPA says it had appointed additional contractors to ensure proper waste management and servicing of waste skips in the area on a regular basis. In addition, during the International Coastal Clean-up Day in September 2019, TNPA in collaboration with the City of uMhlathuze, King Cetshwayo District Municipality and other organisations, cleaned up Naval Island.

TNPA says that due to marine-related operations including tug operations, dredging and dips in sand banks, as well as the absence of a lifeguard service, swimming remains strictly prohibited at Naval Island, Small Craft Harbour, Tuzi Gazi Waterfront and the Dredger Reclaim Berth. “However, members of the public continued with illegal swimming and drownings have unfortunately occurred.”

“This decision was not taken lightly and it is deeply regrettable that visitors will not be able to enjoy Naval Island and the surrounding sites this festive season. We will continue to engage with the City and SAPS on a way forward,” says Sithole.


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SA Amandla. South Africa's sole salvage tug on regular stand-by in local waters Picture Roy Reed Photography, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SA Amandla. South Africa’s sole salvage tug on regular stand-by in local waters.  Picture Roy Reed Photography

South Africa’s maritime risk management capabilities, specifically in oceans Search and Rescue as well as oil pollution, are to receive a major financial injection of up to R8-billion, the Department of Transport has announced.

Confirmation of the planned financial injection was made by Mr Mthunzi Madiya, Chief Director of Maritime at the Department of Transport, while addressing a maritime sector stakeholders dinner hosted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Durban.

Mr Mthunzi Madiya, DoT Chief Director: Maritime, South Africa, featured in Affrica PORTS & SHIPS
Mr Mthunzi Madiya, DoT Chief Director: Maritime

Mr Madiya said the funding by Government was in response to identified weaknesses in the country’s risk management capabilities, many of which were raised during a maritime sector stakeholders workshop held also in Durban in early 2019.

According to Mr Madiya, the funding will be made available through a Maritime Development Fund. He said a technical committee would be set-up next month (January 2020) to look at funding models.

“The Department of Transport has realised that as a country, we lack the sea rescue and oil pollution control capabilities in the waters. This affects aviation as well as the maritime sector. So, the DG [director general] is spearheading this process whereby we need to look at certain legislation that can be amended so we can be able to find the funding model that will be sustainable that will enable us to build the capacity and capability of this country when it comes to search and rescue, as well as pollution control,” said Madiya.

“We have realised that we are under-resourced. The situation is that we have only one pollution tug, based in the Western Cape (and) if something happens on the eastern side of the country such as the Eastern Cape, we don’t have the capability to respond in time,” he said.

For Mr Madiya’s full remarks on the matter, click on the short video below [2:10]


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Scrubbers may be used – for now


The maritime sector stakeholders gathering in Durban last Thursday (12 December 2019) heard that South Africa, contrary to an earlier pronouncement by the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, will not have in place an enabling legislation for the regulation of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s new low sulphur regime effective on 01 January 2020.

Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA

The confirmation was made by Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer of SAMSA. However, he said, the country would still be able to ensure that vessels traversing the region’s three ocean’s waters would be monitored appropriately as required in terms of the IMO’s Marpol Convention Annexture VI, and in terms of which lower sulphur content for ships fuel becomes mandatory.

Precisely, in terms of the IMO, the new sulphur limit in ships fuel is 0.50% from 01 January 2020. 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.


In Durban on Thursday evening, Mr Tilayi also announced that South Africa would allow scrubbing (vessels fitted with EGSC) until such time that ongoing studies of its efficacy had become conclusive.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on this and various other maritime sector development issues, among them; reasons for the lacklustre development of the country’s ship registry, improved South Africa relations both in Africa and internationally, as well immediate to medium term future prospects of the country’s maritime sector, click on the video below. [21:10] – source: SAMSA


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On the up. Shares rose, the pound rose, hopes rose Friday morning (13 December normally a date when things can go wrong) as the remaining results were chalked up indicating a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
On the up. Shares rose, the pound rose, hopes rose Friday morning (13 December normally a date when things can go wrong) as the remaining results were chalked up indicating a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party

On the up. Shares rose, the pound rose, hopes rose Friday morning (13 December normally a date when things can go wrong) as the remaining results were chalked up indicating a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party


Polls closed at 22h00 that day and the first results were published by midnight. Twenty-four hours later results in the Press showed:

Conservative 365 seats, a gain of 49

Labour 202 seats, a loss of 60

Liberal Democrats 11 seats, a loss of 2

Scottish Nationalist Party 48 seats, a gain of 13

Others (Northern Ireland parties + Greens) 24

Total 650 seats. Overall Conservative majority of 80 seats.


UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Bob Sanguinetti gave his reaction: “We congratulate the Prime Minister on his election victory and look forward to working with him and his ministers to ensure we continue to have a world class shipping and maritime sector.

“The UK shipping industry employs over 180,000 people and is the backbone of communities across the country. We are at a crucial time in our history and industry and government need to work together to tackle climate change, invest in skills and training and promote trade with our close neighbours and partners across the globe to ensure economic growth and prosperity.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders CEO said: “We congratulate the Conservatives on their election success and look forward to working with the new government at this critical time for the automotive industry and the country. The priority must now be to restore business and economic confidence and re-establish the UK’s reputation as a great place to invest.

“When Automotive succeeds so does Britain so we look to the new Government to maintain our global competitiveness which means delivering a deal with the EU that is ambitious, maintains free and frictionless trade, and drives growth and innovation to meet shared environmental goals.”

On a personal note the place for a post mortem on the Labour Party is not here save for me to say that their manifesto was probably too far to the left with widespread renationalisation of utilities proposed.

The Labour loss was reported as the worst since the 1930s and the magnitude of the Tory gain had not been seen since that which returned Thatcher’s administration in 1987 with a majority of 102.

There is much to be done in the weeks and months ahead, not least on Brexit which has to be achieved with a sound trade deal with the EU. A new Government Front Bench is expected to be announced within hours and we wait with interest the names of those who will fulfil the offices responsible for Defence, Transport, the Environment and Fisheries.

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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West African pirates attack another tanker off Lome, Togo, report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Another pirate attack has been reported off the West Africa coast, a 140-metre x 23m tanker that was sailing from Luanda in Angola bound for Lomé, Togo.

Dryad Global reports that the oil and chemical products tanker was attacked in position 04°23’N, 002°02.3’E, 115 nautical miles south-east of Lomé, Togo.

Earlier the 140-metre long products tanker has sailed from Luanda. The ship’s name was not initially identified but it has since been confirmed that she is the UK-owned, Marshall Island-flagged tanker DUKE (IMO 9262259) of 19,117-dwt.  It can also be confirmed that the attack took place earlier today, 15 December.

The crew of the tanker were all kidnapped by the pirates with the exception of one seafarer who remained with the ship when the attackers and their hostages departed. Those taken hostage are all Indian nationals – the remaining crew member is Nigerian. It can be assumed that the purpose of the attack was to take hostages for ransoming.

Duke is managed by the Indian-based V Ships Management of Chennai.

Pirate attacks on ships off the cost of Togo and Benin have become more frequent during 2019, making this the current ‘hotspot’ in the Gulf of Guinea. In November another tanker, ELKA ARISTOTLE was seized with four crew being abducted. Earlier this week it was learnt that three of the four had been released and had returned home, but the fourth hostage, a Filipino had died in captivity.


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Port statistics for the month of November 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 November amounted to…



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The Life & Times of Captain John Isbester from Shetland

Book cover, HARD DOWN, HARD DOWN, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Published by Whittles Publishing Ltd, Dunbeath, Caithness, KW6 6EG, Scotland UK.

Paperback, 256 pages with 90 photographs, charts, maps and diagrams. Price £18.99. ISBN 978 184995 402 0

Here is chronicled over 25 chapters the eventful and often exciting life of a sailing ship man in the final half century of commercial sail for Isbester lived from 1852 to 1913. All is supported by many chapter notes, five appendixes and a short bibliography.

There are provided compelling accounts of heroic rescues and disastrous casualties together with the subject’s personal letters and those of his family and friends. Isbester satisfied his employers with his skills in navigation, seamanship and ship management frequently in ships where competent support and assistance were in very short supply.

Hard Down! Hard Down! describes the eventful life of a Shetland man in pursuit of his ambitions – to reach the top in his profession, to find a wife, to cherish a family, to do his job well and to be respected by his peers.

This account is enlivened by extracts from numerous well-chosen family letters, diaries and postcards revealing the minutiae of shipboard and family life 120 years ago. These include a bachelor night out in ’Frisco, buying slippers in Dantzig and a captain who changed his underclothes at midweek because he could not remember which weekend his wife had suggested.

After four years as a fisherman in the stormy waters around Shetland, John Isbester chose to spend his next 40 years in large square-rigged sailing ships trading out of Liverpool at a time when shipping casualties were all too common.

Remarkable feats of survival and tragic deaths are described with clarity and detail. Happier times are also remembered with picnics in Sydney harbour with captain, family and friends transported in the ship’s longboat, rowed by the eight apprentices.

John Isbester’s wife, and sometimes their children, sailed with him on several year-long voyages accompanied by her upright piano. Her letters provide an extra dimension, describing conditions ashore in Sydney, San Francisco, Antwerp and La Rochelle. She also describes the birth aboard ship of her ninth child.

Extracts from the diary of an observant young Scots solicitor on a voyage from Liverpool to Sydney provide many insights into the nature of life aboard a large square-rigged sailing ship on a long voyage.

Professor Tony Lane, Professor Emeritus at Cardiff University School of Social Science, wrote the foreword in which he said: “…readers have a unique opportunity to see beyond the rigours of daily life in sail (without ever losing sight of them) and find in satisfying detail something of the social origins and familial life of one of the last shipmasters in sail … stories of shipwreck through grounding, ships consumed by fire with crews thereafter making lengthy passages in lifeboats, rescues of crews who have experienced the foregoing, a capsized ship drowning its master, its crew saved in a masterpiece of a rescue. … Here is a biography written as a splendidly rounded social history of a late 19th century Shetlander.”

The tragic loss of the Dalgonar is also recounted in gripping and vivid detail. On 9 October 1913, the British fully rigged ship Dalgonar, on voyage from Callao, Peru, to Taltal in northern Chile in ballast, was abandoned in the South Pacific in heavy weather and on her beam ends. Dalgonar had left Callao on 24 September, encountered a storm on 7 October and her ballast not stowed properly started shifting until the ship was nearly on her beam ends. Her ballast was repositioned and all her masts were cut down for stability, but this was to no avail, the ballast shifted again.

Captain John Isbister ordered the boats out, but two were drowned when the lifeboat capsized. Isbister, trying to save a drowning man, entangled in the ropes, himself was knocked unconscious. There are new insights into the loss of the Dalgonar and the acclaimed saving of 26 of the crew. The French four-masted barque Loire responded to Dalgonar’s distress signals on 10 October and picked up the surviving crew on 13 October after the weather moderated.

The hull of Dalgonar never foundered and finally came ashore on the coral reef island of Maupihaa in the Society Islands, part of French Polynesia, 3,700 miles from where she was abandoned. Three chapters are devoted to this loss and an appendix embraces the formal investigation.

Captain Jack Isbester the author is also a professional mariner. He has compiled a record of the life of his grandfather from diligent research of shipping records held in the many parts of the world to which John Isbester sailed. Technical issues are illustrated with numerous diagrams for the reader.

Jack Isbester spent 35 years in the Merchant Navy, serving as Chief Officer of the tops’l schooner Sir Winston Churchill and was Director of Nautical Studies in the training establishment HMS Conway (closed 1974) and was latterly a marine consultant.

Orders may be placed online with the link below for worldwide delivery:

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway


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The saying goes, teach a man how to fish and he will never go hungry. But this is not always the case for South Africa’s coastal fishing communities who rely solely on the sea for an income.


Pictured from left during the Alternative Livelihoods graduation ceremony in Kenton-on-Sea were FADI Project Manager Sulaiman Appoles, Graduate Mzamo Marwanqana, ETC HOD Peter John, Graduate Mkhuthazi Ndike, SAIMI research associate Adv. Akhona Baninzi, Graduate Meandré Koeries, ETC CEO Neil Harilal and FADI CEO Jeremy Marillier, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pictured from left during the Alternative Livelihoods graduation ceremony in Kenton-on-Sea were FADI Project Manager Sulaiman Appoles, Graduate Mzamo Marwanqana, ETC HOD Peter John, Graduate Mkhuthazi Ndike, SAIMI research associate Adv. Akhona Baninzi, Graduate Meandré Koeries, ETC CEO Neil Harilal and FADI CEO Jeremy Marillier

Areas where people have made their living from the sea for generations, remain in poverty and increasingly these marginalised communities find it hard to make a living in off-seasons or times of unemployment or low fish stocks.

Building alternative livelihoods to sustain coastal communities during these difficult times is at the heart of a joint programme between the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute (FADI) and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), which celebrated a major milestone in Kenton-on-Sea this week [Monday, 9 December 2019].

A group of 30 beneficiaries from the Alternative Livelihoods Project graduated with a National Certificate in Building and Civil Construction Masonry from Eastcape Training Centre (ETC).

Speaking at the graduation ceremony hosted at Ekuphumleni Community Hall, SAIMI Research Associate Advocate Akhona Baninzi said the purpose of the training was to equip beneficiaries with new skills to access other ways of making a living, instead of relying only on fishing.

“We firmly believe that skills development and training must have a purpose, that it must lead to genuine opportunities for employment or for entrepreneurship – being able to build a business and even create employment for others based on the skills that have been learned,” said Baninzi.

FADI Project Manager Sulaiman Appoles said the graduates now have an opportunity to immediately begin providing for their families, by starting construction co-operatives.

“These certificates are only the beginning of your journey. Be prepared to take up the challenge. The hard work starts now. There are many opportunities, specifically for brick-paving, in the area. There shouldn’t be such a vast difference between the communities of Kenton-on-Sea and Ekuphumleni. We can change this area brick-by-brick,” said Appoles.

ETC CEO Neil Harilal said the training provided to the beneficiaries included basic bricklaying, health and safety, and scaffolding modules and the intensive training was conducted by ETC in Ekuphumleni over a period of 21 days.

One of the graduates, Busisiwe Venus Tobi, a mother of two, said she enjoyed the training and was looking forward to building onto her livelihood and providing for her family.

Youth member Meandré Koeries said achieving the certificate was something he never believed he could do. “I want to encourage other youngsters to believe in yourself and what you can achieve,” said Koeries.

Another graduate, Mkhuthazi Ndike, said the graduation was a very special occasion. “This is a special day, not just for us personally, but for the community we serve. Government should invest more resources in opportunities like this to sustain our economy,” said Ndike.

The Alternative Livelihoods Project was also presented in Ocean View and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape. In total 90 beneficiaries received practical building and brick-laying training combined with entrepreneurship and business coaching in 2019 under the umbrella of the Alternative Livelihoods Project in the Western and Eastern Cape.

As a result of SAIMI’s funding in providing these training initiatives, FADI will now guide the local communities in establishing co-operatives and has also committed to generously provide seed-funding for their businesses.

“Due to the urgency of the conversion of training to income generation, an initial activity of brick-paving will be pursued at all three locations. Each co-operative will receive an investment of up to R50,000 to buy the necessary machinery, tools and equipment, which they will own. FADI will assist the co-operatives in identifying public facilities in their areas in need of brick-paving work. FADI will also be approaching local government, municipalities and established fishing companies to partner with,” said Appoles.

FADI CEO Jeremy Marillier emphasised that the Alternative Livelihoods Project was intended to complement income from fishing, and not to replace it. “We are touched by the living conditions of the people in Kenton-on-Sea and we look forward to bringing more projects like this to you,” said Marillier, during the closing of the graduation event.


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Transnet National Ports Autority’s Acting Chief Executive, Khomotso Phihlela, issued the following year-end message to all port stakeholders:

“A number of our ports have been in the media spotlight recently due to operational inefficiencies and go slows at the terminals, which the country can ill afford.

These problems are being addressed at the highest level. The Government is fully behind us as we collaborate with the terminals and other stakeholders in the logistics chain to resolve issues.

Acting CE Khomotso Phihlela, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
TNPA Acting CE Khomotso Phihlela

These challenges come at a time when container, break-bulk and liquid bulk volumes are under pressure due to the prevailing economic conditions in South Africa and worldwide.

Fortunately, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. We are making steady progress with our Joint Operations Centres and believe that once we have access to third party operational data from all terminals and a fully integrated ICT system, we will be better able to track and manage performance.

While it was a challenging year, we have lots to be proud and optimistic about. We:

* Acquired two new helicopters to improve our service in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) ports and committed to extending the service to Cape Town.

* Took pride as a new generation of TNPA pilots and technicians from disadvantaged backgrounds, trained by TNPA, joined our ranks.

* Broke new ground as we prepared for the establishment of a new state-of-the-art cruise terminal.

* Celebrated the 10th anniversary of our youngest port – the Port of Ngqura – one of Africa’s fastest growing ports.

* Switched over completely to the IPMS system, engaging with shipping lines to ensure greater usage and population of data.

* Put Ops Centre processes to the test at the Ports of Ngqura and Saldanha with plans to roll out to the other ports in Quarter 1 of the new financial year.

We also made significant shifts in terms of empowering women at every level, including more women joining our ranks in technical roles with women now accounting for 27% of our engineers and 40% of our technicians.

Wishing you a restful, peaceful and safe festive season.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership.”


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After a continued surge last year, global trade and economic output have stagnated this year, according to UNCTAD’s studies (otherwise known as a nowcast*) published on 10 December in the 2019 Handbook of Statistics. CLICK HERE

Merchandise trade is predicted to drop by 2.4% to US$19 trillion, after significant growth rates in 2018 (9.7%) and 2017 (10.7%). Trade in services is predicted to only increase by 2.7% to $6 trillion, a considerable deceleration from 7.7% in 2018 and 7.9% in 2017.

Real global economic output (gross domestic product) is now expected to grow by 2.3% this year, 0.7 percentage points less than last year.

In the words of Steve MacFeely, UNCTAD’s chief statistician: “We see consistency across…


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HRH The Prince of Wales taking the Royal salute alongside HRH The Duchess of Cornwall during the commissioning, featured in Africa PORTS& SHIPS maritime news
HRH The Prince of Wales taking the Royal salute alongside HRH The Duchess of Cornwall during the commissioning

The Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier, HMS PRINCE OF WALES, was commissioned into the Fleet on 10 December.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, as the ship’s Lady Sponsor, alongside HRH The Prince of Wales, presided over the ceremony at HM Naval Base Portsmouth to a gathering of the ship’s company with hundreds of guests from industry, the allies, friends and families.

Captain Darren Houston CO of Prince of Wales read the commissioning warrant to the ship’s company and guests gathered in the warship’s hangar which will soon house F-35 jets and helicopters. Among those present were the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, the Ambassadors of France and the USA, and the commander of the US Sixth Fleet, Vice-Admiral Lisa Franchetti.

HMS Prince of Wales sailed into her homeport of Portsmouth for the first time on 10 December marking a significant milestone in the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier history
The White Ensign then replaced the Blue Ensign which has flown since PoW left Rosyth in September for her initial sea trials. Leading Writer Megan Ryan, aged 27, from Stoke-on-Trent, was granted the honour of raising the new ensign; and youngest sailor, Chef Seth Day (17), cut the commissioning cake with Liesl Houston, the CO’s wife.

Captain Houston said: “As we lower the Blue Ensign and raise the White Ensign, this day marks the culmination of over a decade of work by the country’s maritime and ship-building industry who have come together with the Ministry of Defence to deliver this magnificent ship through the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

“The men and women of my Ship’s Company have demonstrated significant flexibility, patience and resilience. However, I also want to recognise the wider naval family for their support of our achievements, and I am so pleased that so many of our families and loved ones are able to share this special day with us.”

2 There was considerable fanfare as the newest of Britain’s carriers was greeted by thousands of people lining Portsmouth’s seafront. Sailors lined the flight deck of the enormous carrier – the second of the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
There was considerable fanfare as the newest of Britain’s carriers was greeted by thousands of people lining Portsmouth’s seafront. Sailors lined the flight deck of the enormous carrier – the second of the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy

About 550 VIP guests, 1,400 family and friends of the ship’s company, including guests with connections to the previous HMS Prince of Wales, a battleship sunk on that same date 78 years earlier by Japanese forces in the South China Sea, joined the crew for the ceremony.

The previous week and nearly 7,000 miles away HMS Enterprise maintained station at the final resting place of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse to hold a memorial service and lower a White Ensign to the protected remains.

Of the events of 10 December Leading Writer Ryan commented: “I am lucky enough to have been involved in the commissioning of three ships, but this is the one I will always look back on with exceptional pride. Raising the White Ensign for the first time on HMS Prince of Wales is such a privilege that I will never forget.”

AET Patrick Gauson (30, from Edinburgh) added: “Having been present at HMS Queen Elizabeth’s commissioning, to be involved in HMS Prince of Wales’ as well is an immense honour and privilege. It’s another day in my career that I can look back on with great pride and a sense of achievement.”

AET Sam Ward (21, from York) said: “To be part of such an important day in the ship’s history gives me great pride and it will definitely be an interesting story to regale to the grandkids one day.”

3 Pictured is the Royal Marine Band during the commissioning ceremony, featured in Africa PORTS& SHIPS maritime news
Pictured is the Royal Marine Band during the commissioning ceremony

HMS Prince of Wales, which by naval tradition will be referred to in the feminine form despite carrying the title of the male heir apparent, is marginally larger than her sister Queen Elizabeth and so is now the largest ship in the Royal Navy.

The carrier is powered by four diesel engines and two gas turbines, run by the 170-strong marine engineering department. They are part of a core ship’s company of about 700 which can swell to more than double with the addition of personnel from Naval Air Squadrons and Royal Marines embarked.

She departed Rosyth in September and conducted her first sea trials before making her first entry to Portsmouth harbour in mid-November.

More than 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery of the ship as part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, building on the experience they gained in constructing and operating HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth has recently returned from her second deployment to the east coast of North America conducting aviation trials with UK F-35 jets and developing her warfighting capabilities. Both carriers are alongside in Portsmouth for routine maintenance and well-earned Christmas leave before resuming their programmes to reach operational capability.

All illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2019 ©

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Shown here are the ship’s company of HMS Prince of Wales about to off caps during the commissioning, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS mariime news
Shown here are the ship’s company of HMS Prince of Wales about to off caps during the commissioning


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Picture shows eight of the released crew, the ninth man took the photograph. With them is JJ Ugland vice-president, Arnt Olaf Knutsen. Picture: JJ Ugland, featured in Africa PORTS& SHIPS maritime news
Picture shows eight of the released crew, the ninth man took the photograph. With them is JJ Ugland vice-president, Arnt Olaf Knutsen. Picture: JJ Ugland

After 35 days in captivity, the nine members of the JJ Ugland bulker, BONITA, that were kidnapped by West Africa pirates, have been released. See our 4 November report Pirates attack Norwegian ship Bonita off Benin, abduct nine seafarers

Yesterday reports emerged that JJ Ugland had confirmed the release of the nine seafarers who were already back home.

The ship had been attacked on 2 November while…


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Earlier this week we reported on a deal between Transnet and Ghana Railways in which Transnet has agreed to help revitalise a section of the Ghana Railways network – see Transnet to collaborate on Ghana Rail revitalisation.

At the time we did not have sight of a Transnet statement to this effect and relied on Ghanaian sources and our own resources to compile the report. Since then we have received the official Transnet statement on the matter. Here it is in full:

Ghana Railways train en route between Accra and Tema, featured in Africa PORTS 7 SHIPS maritime news
Ghana Railways train en route between Accra and Tema

Transnet SOC Ltd, led by its chairperson Dr Popo Molefe, signed a rail revitalisation agreement with Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) and Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) that will see the restoration of the Western Railway Line in Ghana.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed the historic agreement at a signing ceremony in Ghana yesterday [5 November].

The signing ceremony is the culmination of a process which started in 2018 with a signing of a Joint Statement of Intent between Ghana’s Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey and South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.

This rail agreement between the two countries and rail entities (Transnet, GRDA and GRCL) seeks to bring back to full operation Ghana’s narrow gauge between Takoradi and Tarkwa. The first phase of this major railway project will entail the following:

 Rehabilitating and maintaining the line;
 Refurbishing and maintaining the existing rolling stock (locomotives and wagons);
 Supplying additional rolling stock;
 Jointly operating the line; and  Skills development.

This milestone follows a number of fruitful interactions between GRCL, GRDA and Transnet which owns and operates a railway network of over 30,000km in South Africa, transports over 200 million tonnes of cargo annually and operates the world’s longest narrow gauge freight train of over 4km long.

These interactions included a study tour of Transnet’s facilities as well as an assessment of the existing railway network, wagons and locomotives and operations of GRCL. In the immediate term, a newly established joint project team will undertake a due diligence of the current infrastructure and operations. This exercise will determine the project implementation plan that will be subject to the approval of the respective Board of Directors of each entity and the regulatory authorities of both Ghana and South Africa.

Commenting on the milestone, TIH’s Chief Executive, Petrus Fusi said “Transnet is committed to working with local Ghanaian companies in order to achieve the objectives of the project. Through this partnership with GRCL and GRDA, Transnet strongly believes that it will significantly contribute to the revival of Ghana’s railway infrastructure and operations and return it to full reliability. This is expected to ultimately result in a shift of transporting bulk cargo from road to rail and contribute to a reduction in Ghana’s cost of logistics.”


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Cyclone Belna tracking along western coast of Madagascar, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS, Mapr: JTWC

With Cyclone Ambali having largely dissipated over the Indian Ocean and no longer a concern, and Cyclone Pawan having crossed the Somalia coast where large amounts of rain have been deposited, our attention remains on Cyclone Belna (02S) which is tracking down the western coast of Madagascar at 9 knots.

At 09h00 on Tuesday the cyclones was situated near…


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This YouTube video is the concluding Talking Points of 2019 which saw ExxonMobil and DNV GL sink myths and balls during a game of pool in ExxonMobil’s Antwerp refinery. [18:50]

DNV GL’s Director Environmental, Eirik Nyhus, and Business Development Manager, Christos Chryssakis, discussed the effect of the carriage ban and managing cylinder oil transitions. Along with the likely impact of enforcement with Luca Volta, Marine Fuels Venture Manager, ExxonMobil, and Joseph Star, Global Aviation and Marine Offer Advisor, ExxonMobil.

This final episode of ExxonMobil’s Talking Points video series comes just weeks away from the 1st January 2020 deadline.

Earlier episodes are available on the YouTube Channel.


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With the count-down to the IMO 2020 mandate of the lowering of sulphur emissions from ships, a survey held among German ship owners and operators gives an indication that the majority will turn to the use of low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) come 1 January 2020.

IMO 2020 coming into force, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The survey conducted by the Verband Deutscher Reeder, VDR (German Shipowners’ Association) among its member companies produced this finding, which, although not representative of the German shipping industry as a whole and not necessarily reflecting the number of actual ships, does produce views that can certainly be extrapolated…


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We continue with a presentation of US Navy activities in the waters around Africa, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The events portrayed are of the type undertaken by navies the world over, the delivery of new warships and sustaining operations conducted while under way.

Mention is made of the US 6th Fleet which operates within the Commander, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of responsibility (AOR). This covers approximately half of the Atlantic Ocean, from the Arctic Ocean to the coast of Antarctica, as well as the Adriatic, Baltic, Barents, Black, Caspian, Mediterranean, and North Seas.

The AOR covers all of Russia and Europe and nearly the entire continent of Africa. It encompasses 105 countries with a combined population of more than 1 billion people and includes a landmass of more than 14 million square miles.

It covers more than 20 million square nautical miles of ocean, touches three continents and encompasses more than 67% of the Earth’s coastline, 30% of its landmass, and nearly 30% of the world’s population.

Replenishment-at-sea USS Harry S Truman. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Isaac Esposito. Released USN © Featuredin Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Replenishment-at-sea USS Harry S Truman. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Isaac Esposito. Released USN ©

Our photograph taken in the Mediterranean Sea on 6 December shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) manoeuvring alongside the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) to conduct a replenishment-at-sea (or RAS) in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is conducting operations in the US 6th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations in international waters, alongside allies and partners.

Harry S Truman CSG last operated in the US 6th Fleet area of operations in 2018, demonstrating its ability to operate from the High North to the East Mediterranean.

USS John F Kennedy christened

USS John F Kennedy christened. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cory J Daut. Released. USN ©
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cory J Daut. Released. USN ©

On 7 December Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, President John F Kennedy’s daughter, former US Ambassador to Japan and the warship’s sponsor, christened the aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79).

The ceremony took place at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) division, in Newport News, Virginia.

Kennedy is the second ship in the next-generation USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78)-class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and will be followed by the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80) and the future unnamed CVN-81.

The new aircraft carrier is named after John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, who served in office from January 1961 to November 1963. This is the second US aircraft carrier named for President Kennedy, with the former being the last conventionally powered carrier, CV-67, which served from 1968 to 2007.

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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The lighterage port of Tanga, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The lighterage port of Tanga

NIRAS, an international, multidisciplinary engineering consultancy company located in Europe, Asia and Africa, is heading an international consortium that has just signed a major deal with Tanzania Ports Authority to create a masterplan for the strategic development of the ports in the East African country during the next 25 years.

“This agreement provides us with a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of the ports of Tanzania,” said NIRAS Senior Vice President, Carsten Heine Lund.

“We will strive to make the port projects sustainable elements of the Tanzanian port infrastructure, while contributing in a positive manner to the economic development of the country,” he said.

Tanzania has three international ports, with Dar es Salaam being the largest. Recent developments in the region has made it necessary to expand both Port of Mtwara in the South and Port of Tanga in the North to meet increased demands for international port capacity.

Expansion of the second largest port in Tanzania

NIRAS will lead the study and design of the upgrading of the existing Port of Tanga, the second largest port in the country. The port project also encompasses the construction of a new fully fledged oil terminal in Tanga, which is a hub for rail and ship traffic in northern Tanzania.

“Tanzania is still dependent on fossil fuels, which are necessary in order to create long term development in the country. The new oil terminal in Tanga will contribute to create economic growth and hundreds of jobs. We will obviously make sure the terminal is constructed to the highest environmental and safety standards,” Lund said.

In order to undertake this challenging task, NIRAS has formed a consortium consisting of ANOVA Consult from Tanzania, MTBS from the Netherlands and ILF from Germany. The construction phase is expected to start in a year, and the expansion of the Port of Tanga is projected to have a duration of two and a half years.

Strategic development of the ports of Tanzania

On November 18, the consortium entered into the contract with Tanzania Ports Authority, which is the governing body and owner of all ports in Tanzania, including international ports, coastal ports, river ports and dry ports that hold inland container depots.

“The contract strengthens the presence of NIRAS in East Africa. From our offices in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, we have been a strong partner in the development of the civil and public infrastructure of East Africa for the past 25 years. The new port project in Tanzania will consolidate our record of major international ports projects,” said Lund.

In the past, NIRAS has been assigned to a variety of port infrastructure projects in Africa, including terminals for containers, iron ore, and oil and gas. Projects have been completed in Mombasa in Kenya, Lomé in Togo, Port of Berbera in Somalia, and Buchanan and Freeport in Liberia.

In addition, NIRAS has created national port masterplans for Nigeria and Liberia. Recently, NIRAS also won a large contract for the construction of a new port in The Maldives.


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Aerial view of the Port of East London, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of the Port of East London

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) remains committed to developing the Port of East London to support economic growth in Buffalo City. This was reiterated during an address at the recent Buffalo City Investment Conference in East London.

An initiative of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in partnership with the Buffalo City Metropolitan Development Agency, the conference was held under the theme ‘Power Partnerships – Growing a Better City Together’.

The discussions and various site tours explored how to create a conducive environment for investment and outlined opportunities including at the Port which is critical to the local and regional economy.

East London Port Manager Sharon Sijako presented at the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality Investment Conference in East London, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
East London Port Manager Sharon Sijako presented at the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality Investment Conference in East London

East London Port Manager, Sharon Sijako, said the port has a R3.3 billion asset base and covers 1.3 million m2 of land area. It has seven terminal operators and 11 commercial berths.

“The Port of East London remains a vibrant trade gateway that is involved in all sectors of the economy. The port is geared to support the city’s positioning as a manufacturing hub,” she said.

Key import commodities handled at the port include containerised automotive components, vehicles, liquid bulk fuel and dry bulk grains such as wheat and maize. Key export commodities include vehicles, containerised auto components, processed foodstuffs and livestock.

Ship Repair and cruise tourism play an important part of the port’s service offering.

Strategic port projects include work currently underway to refurbish the port’s dry dock, reconstruction of Quay 3 and the Latimer’s Landing jetty replacement. Other medium to long term strategic projects include the Port Expansion and replacement of the Buffalo Bridge.

The Latimer’s Landing project would include strong City-Port collaboration to bring about improved community access to this working port and foster tourism and leisure development.

Sijako said there is a commitment from Transnet to advance infrastructure and capacity development at the Port of East London.

“We as the port have raised the case for expansion of our automotive terminal, maritime engineering and maritime commercial activities in the ship repair precinct. We are well aware that the potential to grow volumes and expand business at the port hinges on our ability to accommodate larger vessels through deepening and widening of the entrance channel with related berths and terminals. This is receiving attention,” she said.


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A smart looking Ghana Rail passenger train, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A smart looking Ghana Rail passenger train

Ghana hopes to revitalise its once efficient railway network and South Africa’s Transnet is involved in the programme.

The Ghana Rail network once operated on a 3ft 6ins (1067mm) Cape gauge 1289-kilometre system that linked the country with its western neighbour, Ivory Coast. Now it has a master plan to construct 407 kilometres of new railway and to rehabilitate existing rail lines, extend the central corridor and the Trans-ECOWAS line as well as the eastern and western corridors.

These ambitious plans were revealed last week during a…


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Suburban driving coach of Metrorail, a division of PRASA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Suburban driving coach of Metrorail, a division of PRASA

In the second shock news in the past week the South African government has placed the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) under administration with immediate effect.

This was announced on Monday by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula who said the interim board has been…


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The new port of Lamu under development. Berth No.1 has been recently opened. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The new port of Lamu under development. Berth No.1 has been recently opened.

As the new Kenyan port of Lamu comes into service with the opening of its first berth, and with it the LAPSSET Corridor (Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport), questions are being asked about the potential threat to the port and corridor arising from the rival ports of Djibouti and Port Sudan.

One of the primary targets for the LAPSSET Corridor is that of neighbouring Ethiopia, a country that is seeking desperately to secure safe outlets to the sea. At present Djibouti handles well over 90 per cent of Ethiopia’s international trade by sea, but the landlocked country has also invested in nearby Somaliland and the port of Berbera where it acquired a 19 per cent stake.

The cessation of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has further hastened concerns for Lamu to attract Ethiopian trade as this has added Eritrean ports as alternatives for Ethiopia.

Once the new Kenyan corridor is up and running southern Ethiopia in particular will no doubt look south towards its Kenyan neighbour, although the developers of LAPSSET will surely want a much greater share of its international trade from the economically strong Ethiopia.

Recently the Shippers Council of East Africa (SCEA) expressed its concern on this matter and has suggested that the Kenyan government should develop the new Lamu port as a transshipment hub and a commodity port,

SCEA pointed out that the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Corridor project has pegged its sustainability on Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Advertising card for the LAPSSET project, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Advertising card for the LAPSSET project

The project itself has been affected by cash-constraints allied to a lack of political will to complete the project.

According to SCEA Chief Executive Gilbert Langat, the prospect of peace between South Sudan and its northern neighbour Sudan added further pressure on the future success of Lamu, as this provided South Sudan with alternative import/export routes.

Saying that Kenya had no control over what happens with Ethiopia and South Sudan, “Let’s not count on these countries. If today South Sudan and Sudan go back to the old days and allow passage of goods through Port Sudan, it will impact Lamu Port. Ethiopia faces the same choices with Eritrea and Djibouti,” Langat told the Star newspaper in Kenya.

Langat suggested that Lamu should instead focus on becoming a transshipment and commodity port that will allow developers to install Special Economic Zones.

With its natural depth and facing the open sea the new port could transship cargo for South Africa, Tanzania, Middle East, Europe and even Mombasa “just like Oman’s Port of Salalah,” he said.

The government should allow the shipping lines to erect their own berths. “This way, they will guarantee business,” Langat said.

Meanwhile, Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku said that KPA does have plans to develop Lamu for transshipment cargo, with Zanzibar among the destinations.


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Lars Maersk sailing from Durban in 2005. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Lars Maersk sailing from Durban in September 2005. Picture: Terry Hutson

AP Moller-Maersk will be laying off about 200 of its staff in various parts of the company’s operations, according to a number of news reports.

The report said the layoffs were necessary as a result of the increase in fuel costs arising from implementing the IMO 2020 mandate to reduce sulphur emissions, set to come…


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Some of the survivors from the tragic sinking of a fishing boat off the Mauritanian coast. Picture: IOM © featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Some of the survivors from the tragic sinking of a fishing boat off the Mauritanian coast. Picture: IOM ©

On 5 December the UN reported that at least 62 men, women and children had died after a vessel carrying around 150 migrants sank off the coast of Mauritania. This was reported by the UN migration agency IOM * on 5 December.

Eighty-three survivors, including at least 10 youngsters, swam to shore after the tragedy off the North African coast the previous day, and these have been transferred to hospital, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported.

The Organization said that the vessel left The Gambia eight days before bound for the Canary Islands, before running low on fuel.

At the scene of the accident in the north of the country, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission, Laura Lungarotti, said that the survivors were recovering from shock and that the injured were in hospital.

The UN agency has offered support by providing first aid kits, blankets and other supplies, and it has also sent a doctor to support the response.

IOM’s Missing Migrant’s Project reports 158 people have died in 11 confirmed fatal shipwrecks this year along the 1,400km-long Western Africa migration route which runs from Cabo Verde to the Canary Islands. Eight of the earlier fatal trips began in Morocco and two in Mauritania. At least 43 people died in five reported tragedies at sea in 2018.

*Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

With 173 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.

IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

The IOM Constitution recognises the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the right of freedom of movement.

IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management:
 Migration and development
 Facilitating migration
 Regulating migration
 Forced migration

See also: CLICK HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen (7th from left), CEO DNV GL – Maritime, presented the certificate to Chen Jun, President of Hudong-Zhonghua (6th from left), at the CSSC booth in Shanghai. The witnesses included Chen Jianliang, Hudong-Zhonghua Chairman (8th from left), and Norbert Kray, DNV GL – Maritime Regional Manager for Greater China (9th from left), alongside executive members from both companies, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen (7th from left), CEO DNV GL – Maritime, presented the certificate to Chen Jun, President of Hudong-Zhonghua (6th from left), at the CSSC booth in Shanghai. The witnesses included Chen Jianliang, Hudong-Zhonghua Chairman (8th from left), and Norbert Kray, DNV GL – Maritime Regional Manager for Greater China (9th from left), alongside executive members from both companies

At last week’s Marintec China trade fair in Shanghai, DNV GL awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP) certificate to Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding for its new gas-fuelled 25,000 TEU Ultra Large Container vessel (ULCS) design. The signing for a design that would be the largest containership in the world was done at the CSSC booth.

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO DNV GL – Maritime, presented the…


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Aerial view of the Congo river at Matadi, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Aerial view of the Congo river at Matadi

The Philippines-based terminal operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) has given the green light for phase two involving the expansion of the Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), located 92 miles upstream on the left bank of the Congo River, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Phase 2 expansion will…

See related story: Best infrastructure award for ICTSI Matadi port project


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Map: Mauritius Meteorological Services, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map: Mauritius Meteorological Services

Tropical Cyclone Pawan
TC Pawan having come ashore in Somalia has been downrated from a cyclone but is depositing large amounts of rain across the area with localised flooding. A second storm with a strong potential of developing into a cyclone is forming south of Oman, east of India/Pakistan which needs to be watched in case it follows a track towards Africa or the Gulf of Aden

Tropical Cyclone BELNA 02S

This is the storm, now a full cyclone that we originally reported as TC Ambali and which was thought to possibly threaten Mozambique.

Belna was in position near 12.3S 46.5E at 05h00 today (Sunday) with sustained winds of 90 knots gusting to 110 knots and situated approximately 700 nautical miles NNE of Europa island in the Mozambique Channel, tracking SW at 8 knots. Warm seas of 29-30C make for a favourable environment for the cyclone which is expected to move between northern Madagascar and the Comores islands tracking south along a path that will later brush the west coast of Madagascar.

TC Belna is considered unlikely to be a threat to Mozambique. Maximum wave height at present is 26 feet.

Tropical Cyclone AMBALI 03S

Tropical Cyclone Ambali 03S is an active but dissipating cyclone situated near 14.9S 62.2E at 08h00 this morning with sustained winds of 35 knots gusting to 45 knots. The storm is approximately 410 n.miles NE of Mauritius and tracking SW at 14 knots but is dissipating over water and is unlikely to pose much risk to the main Mascarene islands however the storm will still be watched closely in case of regeneration.


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Picture: Oceans Beyond Piracy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: Oceans Beyond Piracy

Earlier this week the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2500 renewing the authorisation for Somalia anti-piracy measures to December of 2020.

Drafted by the United States, Resolution 2500 has agreed to renew the authorization for states and regional organizations cooperating with Somalia to enter into Somali territorial waters and use all necessary means for the purpose of…


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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

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.



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