Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 8 March 2020

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San Christobal departing Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS. San Christobal.     Picture: Trevor Jones
San Christobal.     Picture: Trevor Jones

Hamburg Süd container ships are no strangers to the port of Durban – even those that were deployed on Hamburg Süd’s other services such as South America-Europe usually called at the South African port with cargo while on her delivery voyage. There was a brief hiatus when the German company was acquired by Maersk Line and an arrangement was laid out for Hamburg Süd to retain its identity and ship names, much as was the case almost 20 years earlier with Safmarine being taken over by the same Danish company. Since then we have seen a number of Hamburg Süd ships being transferred into Maersk Line’s services, and this includes some of those that call at South Africa, so once again these bright orange/red ships are appearing on the African horison.

One of the most recent of these to call was the 300-metre long, 48m wide SAN CHRISTOBAL (IMO 9699191), shown here sailing from Durban on her return voyage to the Far East. Built in 2014 the 112,233-dwt vessel was built in Ulsan at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea. The ship has a maximum container carrying capacity of 9,000 TEU. Picture by Trevor Jones



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Photo. IMO © featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Photo. IMO ©

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretariat will continue to monitor all developments related to COVID-19 and will advise as soon as possible on the future postponement of meetings beyond the end of March. This was reported by IMO Media on Friday (6 March).

This move takes into account the decision of the UK on 5 March 2020 to move towards the “delay” phase of its Coronavirus action plan: a guide to what can be expected across the UK, similar actions adopted by other UN agencies, and the increased difficulties for delegates from IMO Member States travelling from abroad to attend IMO meetings.

The following IMO meetings are postponed:

* The Scientific Group of the London Convention and London Protocol scheduled to take place from 9 to 13 March 2020;

* The 107th session of the Legal Committee, scheduled to take place from 16 to 20 March 2020.

IMO will continue to monitor all developments related to COVID-19 and will advise as soon as possible on the future postponement of meetings beyond the ones listed above.

Rescheduling of meetings will be announced in good time to allow delegates to make appropriate arrangements.

IMO Member States have been advised by circular letter and email to diplomatic contact points.

Readers may wish to be aware of relevant briefings available from organisations here:

World Health Organization

International Maritime Organization

European Centre for Disease Control

International Maritime Health Association

International Chamber of Shipping

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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In an unexpected development, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has replaced Dr Dakuku Peterside as director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Bashir Jamoh, new D-G of NIMASA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bashir Jamoh, new D-G of NIMASA

The new D-G is Bashir Jamoh, who takes over with immediate effect. Jamoh was the executive director for Administration & Finance at NIMASA. He holds a PhD from the University of Port Harcourt, specialising in logistics and transport management and is currently the president of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CITA).

Jamoh has been at NIMASA since 2003.

According to Nigerian sources, President Buhari lost confidence in Peterside for not succeeding in the president’s vision of placing Nigeria firmly on the world maritime map. A big disappointment came when Nigeria again failed to be elected a IMO Council member for Category C. Instead Egypt, Kenya, Liberia and South Africa were elected in this category of states with special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council is to ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.

Dr Dakuku Peterside, former NIMASA D-G
Dr Dakuku Peterside

The president is reported to also be disappointed with NIMASA being unable to implement Nigeria’s Cabotage Law, and with the seeming inability to curb rampant piracy in Nigerian waters.

Dakuku Peterside took over the reins at NIMASA in 2016, having succeeded Temisan Ometseye the former D-G who faced charges in 2010 and was convicted for money laundering, contract splitting and bid rigging while head of NIMASA.

Ometseye appealed his sentence and was later released from jail and in 2019 stood as a candidate for the Delta South senatorial district.


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Huanghai Glory. Picture courtesy Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Huanghai Glory. Picture courtesy Shipspotting


It never rains but it pours! One day after the pirate attack on Minerva Virgo, reported above, Dryad Global reports a second attack on a Chinese-owned ship HUANGHAI GLORY (IMO 9458432) 84 nautical miles south of Lagos in Nigeria.

The actual attack took place also on Thursday, 5 March 2020 at 18h20 hours UTC when the ship, a cargo vessel, was in position 05 01.8N 003 27.6E.

Dryad reports that the ship sent…[restrict] an alert by SSAS for Piracy/armed attack. Since then the management of the vessel have been unable to get in touch with the ship.

The 166-metre long x 27m wide vessel is currently drifting with an unknown number of pirates thought to be on board.

The Nigerian Navy has been advised and has dispatched one of their vessels to investigate.

This becomes the third incident of piracy to have taken place within 24 hours in close proximity. The other two cases are reported above involving the Minerva Virgo attack.

Huanghai Glory, built in 2012, 28,287-dwt is sailing under the flag of Hong Kong and is Chinese owned. The ship managers are Tianjin Xinhai Intl Ship Management of Tianjin, China[/restrict]


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Minerva Virgo. Picture Hafen-Hamburg, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Minerva Virgo. Picture Hafen-Hamburg

Dryad Global reported Thursday afternoon a pirate attack (described as an illegal boarding) taking place 45 nautical miles south of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea. The vessel, an oil and chemical products tanker named MINERVA VIRGO, was at 13h00 in position 05 36.0N 002 20.4E and under attack by pirates.

The tanker’s crew were able to report the vessel had been boarded by…[restrict] between five and six pirates. Unconfirmed reports said that the majority of the crew had reached the vessel’s citadel but one member of the crew was unaccounted for.

It appears that no further news or information has been received since then but ships in the region are advised to exercise extreme caution.

Five hours earlier there was a suspicious approach of another ship 50 nautical miles south of Lomé.

The boarding of Minerva Virgo is the third to have occurred off the coast of Benin so far this year. The most recent was the attack on the vessel ALPINE PENELOPE on 20 February which was 31 n.miles

Dryad Global points out that since 2019 there has been an increase in maritime security incidents involving vessel boarding’s and kidnappings within the waters off Lomé and Togo. This, it says, is in part assessed to be due to the increased risks facing perpetrators within the Nigerian EEZ as a result of enhanced security coordination and the increasingly prevalent use of Security Escort Vessels. This is combined with an effective lack of coordinated security measures beyond the Nigerian EEZ has led to perpetrators to travel further in search of high yield targets.

The 50,921-dwt Minerva Virgo (IMO 9307827) is 183 metres in length and 32m wide and was built in 2006. The ship is owned by Greek interests and managed by Minerva Marine Inc of Athens, Greece. source: Dryad Global and AP&S&H[/restrict]


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One of Saldanha MPT's new ship loaders. Picture: TPT
One of Saldanha MPT’s new ship loaders. Picture: TPT

The Port of Saldanha Multi-purpose Terminal (MPT) received a shot in the arm with the delivery of two new mobile ship loaders, which are shortly about to be commissioned.

This follows their assembly by local engineering firm Westarcor.

The new cargo handling equipment forms part of Transnet Port Terminals’ R2 billion infrastructure investment, which is intended to improve the efficiencies across all terminals in the current calendar year programme. See report Transnet responds to industry criticism and places equipment orders for port terminals.

Currently, the Saldanha terminal handles dry bulk and…[restrict] break-bulk commodities for both import and export. Cargo is loaded through a skip operation across four berths, through the use of front-end loaders, haulers and trailers.

“The acquisition of these two mobile ship loaders will change the existing operational model and significantly boost our terminal’s handling capability, specifically for bulk commodities, which comprise more than 80% of total MPT volumes,” says Terminal Manager Ettiene Albertus.

The handling of manganese at the terminal has contributed to an increase in volume as well as employment opportunities. The mobile ship loaders’ ability to load manganese at higher throughput rates will further improve customer service levels.

According to mining production and sales numbers published by Statistics South Africa in June 2019, mining accounted for over 45% of South Africa’s foreign exchange earnings with iron ore ranking as the third-highest earner at 13.80% or R6,172,800,000. Manganese was ranked fifth, earning South Africa 10.67% or R4,771,700,000.

The six main iron ore and manganese importing countries are China (54%), India (10%), Japan (5%), South Korea (4,8%), Norway (4,2%) and Malaysia (3,5%).[/restrict]


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CFA franc countries will no longer have to keep 50% of their foreign exchange reserves at the French Treasury.

Iwa Salami, University of East London

The eight Francophone states that form the West African Economic and Monetary Union have agreed to drop the use of the CFA Franc. Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo will soon start using new currency, the ‘Eco’. The currency is scheduled for launch in June 2020.

These eight states are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a wider regional economic community, which also has a plan to introduce a single currency in 2020.

The decision by the francophone countries marks a break with their colonial past. The CFA franc was created by France in 1945 as a single currency for its former West African colonies. Six other countries — Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon — also use the CFA franc. The six comprise the Central African Economic and Monetary Union. Of the six, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea weren’t French colonies.

Its value was originally pegged to the French franc which was subsumed into the Euro after France became a member of the Eurozone, a group of European countries belonging to a monetary union.

The CFA franc has since been pegged to the Euro, and underpinned by France. This requires that the Francophone countries keep 50% of their foreign exchange reserves with the French treasury. This is one of the reasons why the CFA franc has been criticised as exploitative.

The peg of the CFA franc – first to the French franc and later the Euro – has delivered some benefits for the Francophone states. For one, relative to other African countries, the CFA franc zone member states have had very low inflation and a stable currency, which was devalued once in 1994.

Over and above the foreign exchange reserves arrangement, France guarantees the convertibility of the CFA franc at a fixed rate. The French Treasury stands ready to lend to the Central Bank of West African States should the central bank not have enough foreign reserves. For this arrangement or guarantee, a French representative sits on the board of directors of the Central Bank of West African States as well as the central bank’s various committees, including the monetary policy committee. This representative has a statutory right of veto.

But it’s also been heavily criticised. And the launch of the new currency is aimed at breaking the current CFA arrangement that many view as being inherently unfair to African countries.

What complicates matters even further is that the choice of the name for the new currency for the West African Economic and Monetary Union has angered fellow member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS states decided last year on Eco, as the name for the regional block’s new currency which they also planned to launch this year.

The case critics make

Critics of the CFA franc point to France’s right of veto as one that deprives West African states of their monetary sovereignty. Monetary sovereignty refers primarily to three rights. These are:

  • the right to issue currency (coins and banknotes) that is legal tender within its territory;
  • the right to determine and change the value of that currency; and
  • the right to regulate the use of that currency, or any other currency, within its territory.

The CFA franc arrangement has also been criticised for stifling industrialisation and economic development and has not facilitated trade among Member States of West African Economic and Monetary Union. Among the reasons for its failure to facilitate trade are inadequate transport infrastructure and costly border procedures.

The introduction of the ‘Eco’ will diminish France’s influence in the monetary union. France will no longer have representation on the monetary union board. CFA franc countries will also no longer be required to keep half of their foreign exchange reserves with the French Treasury.

France maintains, however, that it will continue to support the peg of the Eco to the Euro. Should countries using the Eco not be able to pay for their imports, France will cover these payments. The catch though is that such an event will trigger France’s return to the monetary policy committee.

Central bank independence is key

Announcing a break with the colonial past is one thing. The challenge will be maintaining the components of the monetary union – such as a stable currency and keeping inflation under control both of which require an independent central bank – once institutional arrangements change and the countries delink from France.

Will the Central Bank of West African States be able to maintain a stable currency and low inflation without France? This has been a huge struggle for other West African central banks.

West African states have been unable to achieve a stable currency and low inflation rates largely due to lack of independence of their central banks. Indepedence in this instance refers to the freedom with which a central banks controls the cost, supply and availability of money without political interference.

Achieving central bank independence across West Africa is likely to be a challenge without a robust legal framework protecting the regional central bank’s independence. But even with a robust legal framework for central bank independence, the European Monetary Union experience shows that sustaining a single currency can be a challenge. Currently, some of the states of the Economic Community of West African States don’t comply with the economic convergence rules for the proposed monetary union.

Rather than aiming to achieve a monetary union across Economic Community of West African States, West African states should in the immediate term focus on strengthening their economies. They can do this by bringing down budget deficits, government debt, and inflation rates.

They should also boost intra-regional trade, increase foreign investment and job creation. This would inevitably enable the achievement of the convergence criteria – the economic requirements for joining a monetary union – and make member states ready to achieve a monetary union.The Conversation

Iwa Salami, Senior Lecturer in Financial Law and Regulation, University of East London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Santa Rita departing Durban in October 2019. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Santa Rita departing Durban in October 2019. Picture: Trevor Jones

It has been announced that a second SAECS Europe – South Africa container ship SANTA RITA is to skip her Southbound Cape Town call due to adverse weather. See first report involving SANTA CLARA HERE

In an advisory one (no pun) of the member shipping companies, Ocean Network Express (ONE) advises that…[restrict] as a result of adverse weather, his time in Europe, the vessel SANTA RITA sailing as 201A has had to omit her Algeciras call and that cargo at that port for export to South Africa was instead to be loaded on the vessel SANTA ISABEL voyage 201A due there on 3 March.

Further to this and because of additional delays experienced to her schedule in Europe, SANTA RITA voyage 201A will now also omit her Cape Town Southbound call and will sail direct to Ngqura and Durban.

Cape Town cargo will be discharged on the second Cape Town (Northbound) call ETA on Sunday 22 March 2020.

The SAECS port rotation is Bremershaven, Rotterdam, Algeciras, Cape Town, Ngqura, Durban, Cape Town, London Gateway, Bremershaven.[/restrict]


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The Corona Virus. Picture courtesy Oxford University, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Corona Virus. Picture courtesy Oxford University

It was only as matter of time before this happened. The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has confirmed the first case of Coronavirus in South Africa on Thursday afternoon.

The Minister took to Twitter to make the announcement just moments before a Parliamentary debate on South Africa’s readiness to deal with Coronavirus (COVD-19).

“This morning, Thursday,5 March, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive.

“The patient is a 38-year-old male, who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on 1 March 2020,” tweeted the Minister on his official account.

According to the Minster, the patient consulted a private general practitioner on 3 March with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.
The patient has been self-isolating since 3 March. The couple also has two children.

“The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolating as well.

“The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor,” said Mkhize.

Following the Parliamentary debate, the Minister intends holding a media briefing to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast.

“A press briefing will be held later after the parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue,” said Mkhize.


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Ghana's Jubilee and adjacent field, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Ghana’s Jubilee and adjacent field

Following the sale of Andarko’s oil-related operations in Algeria, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa to French oil major Total SA, approval processes have commenced in Ghana regarding the disposal of Anadarko’s operations in the West African country.

The figure that Total SA will pay Anadarko will amount of an estimated…[restrict] profit of US2.5 billion for the Ghanaian operations, it is learnt. That is part of the $8.8 billion Total is paying for all the African operations of the American company.

The sale in Ghana is now subject to approval by Ghana’s Ministry of Energy. Anadarko, which has been active in the West African country since 2006, owned 24.077 per cent of the Jubilee Field offshore near the country’s border with Ivory Coast.

Anadarko also owned 17 per cent of the adjacent Tweneboah-Enyera-Ntomme (TEN) project, an integrated oil and gas project.

Ghana’s deputy minister for Energy, Mohammed Amin Adam told Ghana’s Daily Graphic that the government was likely to agree to the sale to Total, but only after Anadarko as the seller has complied with all the requirements.

The sale by Anadarko of its African operations is the result of the acquiring last year of Anadarko by Occidental Petroleum, another US company.

“We want Total, we want all the ‘big boys’ in the industry in Ghana,” Adam said. “We have a lot of potential and, therefore, when you have big companies, they first of all help de-risk your investment environment and, secondly, there is a potential for them to invest.”[/restrict]


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– Passengers remain on board in Piraeus

FLASH :  FIRST CASE CONFIRMED IN SOUTH AFRICA, a 38-year old man who returned from Italy on 1 March. He is in quarantine as is his doctor and others he came into contact with.

MSC Opera in Table Bay with Cape Town in the background, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Opera in Table Bay with Cape Town in the background

MSC Cruises has issued a statement confirming that the cruise ship MSC OPERA is on a Covid-19 (coronavirus) alert after a former passenger has tested positive on Tuesday (3 March 2020) after returning home via Italy from a cruise on the ship.

MSC Opera is well-known for having cruised for several seasons from Durban, and is due back in South Africa later this year when the ship will be homeported at Cape Town.

According to reports we have received, the ship, with about 3,000 people on board, was visiting Piraeus when the matter was reported to Greek Health Authorities, requesting their guidelines. Meanwhile passengers were asked to remain on board as a precautionary measure.

The master of MSC Opera, Captain Pietro Esposito sent the following letter to passengers on board his ship: “I have just learned – and wanted you to know straight away – that we have been contacted by the Austrian Health Authorities who have informed us that a previous passenger who sailed with us last week on MSC Opera has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The male passenger, of Austrian nationality, disembarked from MSC Opera in Genoa, Italy on Friday morning 28 February, and is currently back in Austria. To be clear: this person is not on board.”

It appears the passenger who became ill with the virus had cruised on MSC Opera in the East Mediterranean between 17 and 28 February. After disembarking at Genoa he returned home to Austria via northern Italy (where he may have contracted the virus) and began showing symptoms of the disease after arriving back home.

“We shared with the local health authorities the ship’s full medical records as well as the medical and travel history records of the former Austrian passenger,” said MSC Cruises in their statement.

“The Greek health authorities gave MSC Opera permission around 13h00 CET to sail from Piraeus, Greece, and continue its journey to its next scheduled port in Corfu, Greece. No additional health measures were required to be taken and the ship is currently sailing as planned.” (Probably happy not to have the ship remain in harbour for obvious reasons).

MSC said there are no passengers or crew members currently on board the ship who have reported any flu-like symptoms.


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USS Carney DDG64. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritme news
USS Carney DDG64. Picture: Wikipedia

After a fairly long gap in visits from the US Navy, the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS CARNEY will call at Cape Town on Sunday 15 March, departing on Tuesday 17 March.

USS Carney (DDG64),which was built at the Bath Iron Works and commissioned into service in 1996, is the 14th Arleigh Burke class ship and is currently based at Rota in Spain. The ship is named for Admiral Robert Carney, Chief of Naval Operations during President Eisenhower’s administration,

Carney displaces 8,900 tons and has a length of 154 metres and a width of 20m. She carries a complement of 33 officers, 38 chief petty officers and 210 enlisted personnel.

Apart from her impressive weaponry she has facilities to carry two Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters.

There is no information available concerning whether USS Carney will also visit Simon’s Town.


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Burnt house after terrorist attack, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Burnt house after terrorist attack

Two villages near the port town of Mocimboa da Praia in northern Mozambique have been the latest to suffer attacks by terrorists, who adhere to an Islamic fundamentalism but who have yet to fully identify themselves or their purpose.

Mocimboa da Praia is being developed as a port of entry for the emerging gas industry in the province of Cabo Delgado.

According to…[restrict] the Portuguese language Lusa and based on reports in the local newssheet Carta de Mocambique, two villages were attacked last Thursday. Fortunately there were no fatalities or innocent people injured in these attacks, although houses were burnt down and other property destroyed.

Classrooms in the local primary school were vandalised as was the house belonging to the school director.

Villagers escaped injury by sleeping in the bush and when the terrorists arrived the villages were deserted.

The report also says that shots were heard in the area at around 08h00 on Saturday, 29 February, which is an indication that a clash between the terrorists and Mozambique security forces may have taken place.

The Mozambique authorities seldom give out reports of the terrorist activities in northern Mozambique, which has the potential of destablising the region and posing risk and danger to the emerging gas industry as well as the small ports of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia. Even the port of Pemba is thought to be in the high risk zone.[/restrict]


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Port of Walvis Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The port authorities of the ports of Walvis Bay (Namport) and Dunkerque (Port Maritime de Dunkerque, GPMD), together with Agence Française de Développement, have entered into a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of a technical cooperation initiative.

The signing of the MoU took place during a recent high-level French business delegation that visited Namibia.

The project grant, funded by AFD for a maximum total amount of N$10.6 million (Rands 10.6m – EUR 650k) is aimed at supporting a win-win partnership between the Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque and the Port of Walvis Bay.

Through peer-to-peer exchanges and consulting services, it will seek to improve the performances of the Port of Walvis Bay in a regional and international perspective, while providing a stronger positioning of the GPMD on the maritime flows involving Southern Africa and Europe.

GPMD will also provide its expertise for the implementation of a ‘green port strategy’” at the Port of Walvis Bay.

“The maritime sector strongly contributes to our economy, and we, therefore, pay special attention to the development of our relationships with strategic foreign partners,” said M Raison, Chairman of the Management Board of the Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque.

“This has been a topic of common interest between French and Namibia Governments, and I am very pleased to see that the collaboration between our two ports is entering into a concrete phase of implementation.”

The signing ceremony of this tripartite MoU was held with the participation of Mrs Valérie Létard, Vice-President of the French Senate and Senator of the Hauts-de-France region, who stated: “Our region is one of the main economic areas in Europe, with a direct access to five capitals (Paris, Brussels, London, Amsterdam and Luxembourg) and three seafront ports (GPMD, Boulogne sur mer and Calais) forming the first port system in France.

“Like in Namibia, we benefit from a dynamic fishing industry, and we are very keen on strengthening the synergies between the stakeholders of this sector and our ports,” she said.

As a sheltered deep-water port, the Port of Walvis Bay plays a strategic role in Namibia’s development. It recently extended its terminal container and expressed great interest in benefiting from the expertise of GPMD in order to improve port operations through identified strategic areas of cooperation.

“Our mission is clear, that as Namport we strive to provide world-class port experience to all users of our ports, as well as to meaningfully contribute towards Namibia’s transformational agenda that of becoming a Logistics Hub for the Southern African Developmental Community (SADC),” said Kavin Harry, Acting CEO, Namport.

In addition to this grant, the Agence Française de Développement will be in discussions with Namport to support the company’s potential investment needs, through soft loan financing. After the opening of its office in Windhoek last year, AFD is willing to support the implementation of the Namibian National Development Plan (NDP) including the transport sector.


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– Grindrod Annual Report

Grindrod Ship loader in action at Matola terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Grindrod Ship loader in action at Matola terminal

Grindrod Limited (Grindrod) yesterday (4 March 2020) released its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019. In the report Grindrod says that driving corridor solutions for specific customer requirements has yielded positive results.

Port and Terminals and Logistics increased the focus on bulk and container corridors with increased emphasis on integrated service offerings and investments in…[restrict] key infrastructure. In addition, Grindrod Bank strengthened its traditional banking service offering, growing in the SME and property markets and developing platform solutions for the fintech market.

Headlines earnings from continuing businesses grew by 9% to R525.2 million (2018: R480.2 million). Earnings improved from a loss of R20.3 million in 2018 to R299.9 million.

Port and Terminals reported solid results, mainly as a result of strong volume performance. Earnings increased by 26% to R175.2 million (2018: R139.6 million). Overall Logistics results of R133.7 million (2018: 508.2 million) were satisfactory, with the strong performance achieved by the Intermodal and Seafreight businesses in a challenging market.

Highlights for 2019 include:

* Additional handling equipment, rehabilitation of berths and an innovative training centre contributed to the record volumes of 21 million tonnes handled at Port Maputo, up 8% on 2018.

* Record loading volumes month-on-month at Grindrod’s Matola Terminal was reported. A record 81% utilisation of its nameplate capacity of 7.3 million tonnes was reached. The terminal’s efficiencies, as well as the continuous rail efficiency improvements and strong collaboration between Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and Mozambican Ports and Railway Company (CFM), have provided the confidence to deliver on contracted volumes.

* Return of 24-locomotives from Sierra Leone, integration of rail partners and commercial deployment of the locomotives.

* A 61,000m² cross-dock facility is now operational in Nacala and is providing logistics solutions for the Balama and Malawi regions;

* The acquisition of strategic land in Palma (Mozambique) has positioned the business to service the logistic requirements that will be required for the liquid gas development in the region.

* Expanded container handling facilities in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to 600,000 m² total capacity and targeting further expansion to total 750,000m².

“Grindrod will continue to develop customer solutions, securing contracted volumes and expand its footprint along strategic trade corridors by investing in infrastructure and people,” said Andrew Waller, CEO Grindrod Limited.[/restrict]


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Port of Lüderitz, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port and town of Lüderitz

The Port of Lüderitz is enjoying significant increases in cargo throughout and is progressing towards economic acceleration as reflected in the country’s Harambee Prosperity Plan.

This is reflected in the latest Namport report on the ports of Lüderitz and Walvis Bay – see yesterday’s News for details of the Walvis Bay port.

The increase in traffic at Namibia’s second port is ascribed to the…[restrict] success of the Trans Oranje Corridor route that links the port of Lüderitz with southern Namibia and with the Northern Cape of South Africa.

According to Namport Lüderitz has experienced tremendous volume increment and the ideals of becoming a logistics hub are noticeable.

Exceptional clientele services from the port’s operational team, and a record of moving more than 10,000 tons per day, has culminated in a demand for more mining houses to come knocking at the door of Lüderitz with an intention to make use of the port.

According to the Marketing Specialist at the Port of Lüderitz, Mr Cecile Kamupingene, the port’s current volume has increased from 600,000 tons per annum to more than 800,000 tons and “we anticipate this trend to continue”.

Apart from the above, Debmarine Namibia’s operation is gradually relocating from Port Nolloth in South Africa to the Port of Lüderitz and as a result, an escalation in terms of marine and other activities inside the port in comparison to the previous financial year is also noticeable.

Another viewe of Luderitz, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The port has also recorded a significant increase in cruise ship calls at the harbour town, which directly speaks to an increase in tourism activities. Local taxis and tour bus operators are tapping into these opportunities by transporting tourists to heritage sites around the town such as Kolmanskop and the ever-popular Diaz Point.

“We anticipate a very good year through collaboration and synergy amongst all stakeholders within the logistics industry in order for us to attain our ultimate goal of being a logistics hub in the SADC region,” said Kamupingene. “Thus, we will be able to create more employment opportunities for the locals and in the same vein create niche industries”.

In the current financial year 2019/2020, the Port of Lüderitz has so far received 8 cruise ships and is expecting another 8 more to call at the port as opposed to only 10 vessels that called in Lüderitz during the previous financial year 2018/2019.[/restrict]


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Access roadto Mbalam before the current reconstruction and asphalting was completed, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Access roadto Mbalam before the current reconstruction and asphalting was completed

The Sembé-Souanké-Ntam road in northern Congo connecting that country with Cameroon is being officially opened this week.

The 143-km stretch of road connects Congo to Cameroon and has been built by the Chinese company Sinohydroad. This become an important segment of phase 2 of the 500-km Ketta-Djoum road project consisting of the construction of 312 km of road on Congolese territory and…[restrict] 191 km on the Cameroonian side.

According to reports road construction on the Cameroon side of the border has been slow, with a mere 98-km between Djoum and Mintom having been delivered in August 2019. A second phase of the integration project plans for the asphalting of the 105-k Mintom-Lélé-Ntam section and the 30-km of road between Ntam-Mbalam where iron ore mining takes place.

All of this is in the interior of both Central African countries and are important factors in boosting trade along the Brazzaville-Yaoundé corridor.

With the inauguration of this week’s Sembé-Souanké-Ntam road and the 2016 inauguration of the road connecting Ketta and Biessi, Congo has concluded its part in the road project.

Funding for this road network in the interior of Congo and Cameroon came from Congo, Cameroon, the AfDB, the European Union and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

According to the AfDB, the project goal is to contribute to an efficient road transport sub-sector to support economic and social development and regional integration in the ECCAS region.

Specifically, the project aims to improve the service level of the transportation supply chain of on the road Brazzaville -Yaoundé, increase trade and enhance living conditions of people in the project-affected area.

The project covers areas that are mainly agriculture-oriented; but other activities such as hunting, stock farming, fishing and timber-cutting are practiced. Cocoa and oil palm are the main cash crop and the most significant cash income source for most households.[/restrict]


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Aerial view of the new Walvis Bay Container Terminal. The long jetty inside the port is the Cruise Terminal jetty, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Aerial view of the new Walvis Bay Container Terminal. The long jetty inside the port is the Cruise Terminal jetty

In its half-yearly review since the opening of the new Walvis Bay Container Terminal, and armed with new infrastructure and equipment including four ship-to-shore cranes, the port is reporting an operating rate of 39 container moves an hour, surpassing previous highest rates of 26 moves an hour, increased subsequently to 30 moves and then to 36.

It is not clear how many cranes were involved in achieving these figures.

The port authority has pointed out that six months training on ship-to-shore cranes is the norm whereas Walvis Bay crews had a mere six weeks before commissioning.

“We applaud the team for their dedication and hard work, persisting and consistently aiming to increase levels of productivity,” port management said in a report issued on Tuesday (3 March).

Namport has instituted a Productivity Improvement Project (PIP) that involves all stakeholders involved at the terminal, both internal and external. These meet on a regular basis at the terminal to address all and any issues that may hamper productivity and give recommendations to mitigate any issues.

Namport says this platform also assists with various training aspects identified, such as skills shortages and plans to fill these gaps.

Container Handling

According to Namport it has been receiving enquiries from potential clients who are eager to move business through the terminal. “This is a positive sign not only for Namport but also for Namibia economically. For the period of August – December 2019 the port has moved 69,166 TEUs. While in 2020 approximately 15,927 TEUs thus far, estimated at 85,000 TEUs since August last year to mid-Feb 2020.”

With the current global economic state, the Walvis Bay terminal has not been operating at full capacity. However, the port has seen positive changes in terms of volume at the terminal and is aware that there are other players along the west coast and what happens at other ports affects the Namibia ports as well.

The terminal is currently still operating in project mode, as there are still minor aspects to be completed, for example, ICT features to fully test before full transitioning and several projects in terms of automation at the new container terminal, such as the “zero-error system” for maintaining yard integrity. The port started with an ICT solution for breakbulk, which will be rolled out in April this year.

MSC Orchestra making her first visit to Walvis Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Orchestra making her first visit to Walvis Bay

Cruise Ships

Namport has seen an influx of cruise ships at both ports since the commissioning. AIDA Cruises, a German cruise line, has been one of the cruise ships overnighting at the Port of Walvis Bay. Earlier in January, MSC Orchestra made its maiden voyage to the port of Walvis Bay and 3000+ passengers and crew members disembarked, venturing into Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

MSC South Africa Managing Director, Ross Volk, expressed his excitement with the announcement that MSC cruise ships will be visiting the Port of Walvis Bay and Port of Lüderitz on a more regular basis in the next season from the Port of Cape Town.

“From next season we will have two vessels based in Southern Africa, one doing the east coast and one the west coast. So, instead of us only have 2 – 3 calls in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, we going to have a vast number of calls, in fact, 22 from Cape Town,” Volk said.

Multi Purpose & Bulk Cargo

Walvis Bay continues to receive the same traditional multipurpose cargo vessels, passenger vessels, RO-RO vessels, fishing and container vessels, sulphur, rail, salt, general and project cargo received prior to the new container terminal.

A notable achievement for Namibia, Namport and Meatco is the first beef export to the USA through the port of Walvis Bay. This makes Namibia the first eligible African country to benefit from this opportunity. Meatco will send 860 tonnes initially, which will be increased to 5700 tonnes per year.

Uis Tin Mine shipped its first shipment of tin concentrate to Thailand. The concentrate is trucked to the Port of Walvis Bay, then shipped to Thailand. AfriTin Mining Limited, the company managing Uis Tin Mine, aims to ramp up the production capacity to 60 tonnes of tin concentrate per month.


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Picture courtesy PAD, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture courtesy PAD

The Port of Douala’s IHC Beaver 50 dredger has entered service at the Cameroon port.

Acquired by the Autonomous Port of Douala (PAD), the IHC Beaver 50 began working in the turning basin for berths 3 to 5. This is a part of the Wouri River that has been created as a turning basin for ships leaving the berths before…[restrict] departing from the port of Douala-Bonabéri for the open sea.

Operations with the new dredger commenced on 26 February 2020. Eight months earlier the port took delivery of the IHC Beaver 50 dredger which is named VIGILENCE – see that report Douala port takes delivery of Beaver 50 dredger HERE.

Four years ago PD took the decision to own and operate its own dredging service and set about acquiring suitable equipment, machinery and vessels – details are in our earlier report.

The port carries out an annual dredging programme aimed at maintaining draught levels for the channels, basins and alongside the berths.

The Beaver 50 cutting suction dredger is a product of the firm Royal IHC, which has supplied more than 800 of this standard-design dredger worldwide.[/restrict]

IHC Beaver 50 suction dredger now in service at Port of Douala. Picture: PAD


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FPSO EGINA, the latest vessel to go on the Nigerian Ship Register, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FPSO EGINA, the latest vessel to go on the Nigerian Ship Register

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMAS) has established an automated, online ship registry in Lagos.

Saying that the purpose is to enhance the ease of doing business in the maritime sector, NIMAS Director-General, Dr Dakuku Peterside said the Agency had acquired a software licence for the setting up and operation of the automated Nigerian Ship Registry.

The aim is to achieve online…[restrict] electronic registration, to accept electronic copies of documents and to issue electronic certificates.

The Nigerian Ship registry is rated second-largest by tonnage in Africa behind Liberia. Despite this Nigeria ranks a lowish 46 in the world and like the other economic powerhouse of Africa, South Africa, is desirous of attracting more ships on its local register.

Dr Dakuku Peterside, Director-General of NIMASA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Dr Dakuku Peterside, Director-General of NIMASA

Dr Peterside revealed that the FPSO EGINA and the tanker ULTIMATE were the latest vessels to go on the Nigerian Register.

He said he is confident that a lot more can be done to assist Nigerians in acquiring ships and that this was a reason for attempting to ensure the disbursement of the country’s Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

According to Peterside, some of the biggest ship registries in the world maintained a second or international register to attract tonnage, while using the closed register to develop indigenous capacity. He said the Agency is therefore considering a second register to help grow the Nigerian fleet and enhance the country’s role in international commercial trade.

“Our goal as a Maritime Safety Administration is to create a world class Ship Registry, which will be attractive to ship owners with the aim of maintaining the influence of Nigeria in evolving international commercial and regulatory environment for shipping,” he said.[/restrict]


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Azamara Quest in Durban Harbour. All cruise ship lines calling at South Africa in 2020 are members of CLIA. Picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Azamara Quest in Durban Harbour. All cruise ship lines calling at South Africa in 2020 are members of CLIA. Picture by Trevor Jones

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise industry, issued on Monday (1 March) the following statement in response to recent developments concerning COVID-19 and its impact on the global cruise industry.

“The health and safety of cruise passengers and crew is and remains the number one priority of CLIA and its member lines, which make up over 90% of ocean-going cruise capacity worldwide.

Given the evolving nature of the ongoing COVID-19—and based upon prevailing guidance from global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO)—CLIA Members have adopted the following enhanced protocols for ocean-going guests and crew who have recently traveled from or through Iran, South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau.

These enhanced policies, which are in effect as of 27 February 2020, build upon those which were first implemented on 31 January 2020 and focus on conservative measures, as the situation evolves, to appropriately and effectively screen every guest and crewmember on every ship prior to boarding.

CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in Iran, South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.

CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.

CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

In coordination with cruise lines, medical experts and regulators around the world, CLIA and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to the coronavirus and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew. With strict measures in place, as guided by national and international health authorities, CLIA and its member lines do not believe restrictions on the movement of ships are justified.

Importantly, the cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of those onboard, with outbreak prevention and response measures in place year-round. Furthermore, ships must be fitted with onboard medical facilities, with shipboard medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and help prevent disease transmission.”


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Santa Clara sailing from Durban on a previous visit. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Santa Clara sailing from Durban on a previous visit. Picture: Trevor Jones

Ocean Network Express (ONE) has announced that in order to maintain schedule integrity the container vessel SANTA CLARA voyage 201A presently sailing from Europe to South Africa on its Rainbow Service as part of the SAECS combined service with Maersk, Safmarine, DAL and ONE (MOL), will skip the scheduled Cape Town call on the Southbound journey.

Santa Clara will sail directly to Ngqura in the Eastern Cape, followed by Durban.

Cape Town cargo will be discharged on the second Cape Town (Northbound) call on Sunday 15 March 2020.

This is a result of adverse weather conditions in Cape Town and the need to maintain the schedule integrity.

The SAECS service rotation is: Bremershaven, Rotterdam, Algeciras, Cape Town, Ngqura, Durban, Cape Town, London Gateway, Bremershaven.


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The 2019/20 dredging campaign at the Port of Mossel Bay has concluded. The departmental dredger Isandlwana at Mossel Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The 2019/20 dredging campaign at the Port of Mossel Bay has concluded. The departmental dredger Isandlwana at Mossel Bay

It should be smooth sailing for vessels navigating and berthing at the Port of Mossel Bay now that Transnet National Ports Authority’s Dredging Services has concluded its 2019/20 dredging campaign.

The dredging programme ensured that sand trap and high spots within the port were successfully removed. The dredger Isandlwana in the picture.

Dredging is a critical aspect of port maintenance and refers to underwater excavation that helps to ensure safe navigational channels and maintain port depths. The 2019/20 campaign made use of two dredgers – the trailing suction hopper dredger dredger ISANDLWANA, which focused its effort on the entrance channel and the sand trap while the ITALENI, a grab dredger, focussed on clearing the port’s confined spaces along quays 4 and 5 and the Vincent Jetty.

This was the first time in 20 years that the latter areas have receive this attention.

Despite minor weather delays and a technical breakdown experienced by the Isandlwana, Port Manager Shadrack Tshikalange said the campaign went smoothly and ensured that the area was dredged to the promulgated depth for safe navigation of all vessels, especially platform supply vessels involved in TOTAL’s Brulpadda gas exploration project.

“The port’s readiness to support the gas exploration project is a top priority for TNPA. Despite being the smallest of the commercial ports along the South African coast, our location and capabilities enables us to make a valuable contribution to this economically boosting project,” he said.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA)’s Dredging Services division carries out dredging in all of South Africa’s commercial ports using a fleet of special craft built for this purpose. The TNPA fleet renewal programme has boosted the dredging division’s capacity to aid the removal of approximately four million cubic metres of excess material from the seabed every year at South Africa’s ports.

With the most modern equipment available in the specialised service industry, Dredging Services is able to not only meet the needs of the South African port system, but the needs of Southern Africa, helping other African countries grow their economies.

Another view of Isandlwana while at Mossel Bay. Pictures courtesy: TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Another view of Isandlwana while at Mossel Bay. Pictures courtesy: TNPA


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Flue-gas scrubber tower weighing 127 tons, 88ft long x 43ft wide, for installation in a container ship. Picture: PPG , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Flue-gas scrubber tower weighing 127 tons, 88ft long x 43ft wide, for installation in a container ship. Picture: PPG

Port state control authorities will begin to enforce the IMO’s Sulphur 2020 from 1 March, making it an offense for ships to carry fuel that contains a sulphur content higher than 0.5 per cent unless the ship has an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) issued a statement on Monday, 2 March 2020, reminding shipowners and operators of the ban and reiterating the fact that any ships found to be non-compliant faces the prospect of detention.

As of 1 March, enforcement agencies will no longer have to prove usage. Showing that vessels without Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems have non compliant fuel aboard will be enough to prove a violation. Major port state regimes including Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), have made it plain that they will rigorously enforce the requirements.

Guy Platten, Secretary General ICS said:…[restrict]

“Since the introduction of IMO 2020 on 1 January, ships have been given a ‘grace period’ while the industry transitions to low-sulphur fuel. As of 1 March this will no longer be the case. Any ship found in non-compliance faces the prospect of serious fines and even detention.

“The International Chamber of Shipping has been made aware that major port State inspection regimes including the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that detention of ships found to be non-compliant is both possible and legally permissible.

“The information ICS has received is that shipowners are fully compliant and ready for 1 March. We are simply reminding shipowners and operators that these new rules will come into force as of Sunday 1 March.”[/restrict]


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Diamond Princess visiting New Zealand in an earlier time. Picture: Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Diamond Princess visiting New Zealand in an earlier time. Picture: Alan Calvert

The final group of crew members serving on board the corona virus contaminated cruise ship DIAMOND PRINCESS, have been able to depart the ship, leaving the 115,785-gt ship empty and awaiting full sterilization.

Among the crew were 12 South Africans, of whom two contracted the virus while on board and are now receiving medical treatment in a Japanese hospital.

With the ship placed in quarantine in Tokyo harbour (Yokohama), 705 of the passengers and crew have gone down with the virus, leaving one correspondent to describe the vessel as a ‘floating petri dish’. By the weekend six people from the ship had died as a result of complications brought on by the virus known as Covid-19, the disease resulting from the virus.

On Sunday, 1 March the final group of crew members numbering 130 left the ship that had arrived in port with 3,711 passengers and crew on board.

Many valuable lessons will be taken from this sad and ongoing episode. Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference that the empty ship would now be sterilized and checked carefully before being prepared for her next voyage.

The virus entered the ship, so it is thought, with a single passenger, that’s all it took. Measures taken to control the spread and to quarantine the vessel enforced its isolation but have now come under strong criticism, although the reality is that there is no textbook to follow in such matters.

Kato said at the press conference that the government would investigate the handling of the cruise ship. “We should investigate the case so that we will not expand infections again,” Kato said.

However, he also pointed out the crisis management of a foreign-flagged and operated ship is difficult for a single government to deal with, and suggested that there is a need to promote a global framework in tackling future crises.

Other cruise operators who had ships catering for the expansive Asian market will be wondering how they escaped a similar fate.

Of the hundreds of passengers on Diamond Princess who were evacuated from the ship by their governments and flown home to another dose of quarantine, there are also lessons to learn. Over a dozen of these passengers have since tested positive with the virus. Similarly a number of Japanese passengers who were allowed to return home on public transport and to go into self-quarantine in their homes, have since been confirmed positive with the disease.

Increasing daily

The virus is now widespread across the globe and increasing daily, despite all the stringent efforts by governments and health authorities to keep it from their countries. Tourism is badly affected as people cancel planned vacations and forms of public transport are feeling the pinch. Sport and other crowd events are being cancelled or postponed – the forthcoming Irish-Italy Six Nations rugby clash is one such.

Other events are being cancelled or postponed – these include two of the biggest maritime conferences on the annual calendar. TPM 2020 was due to take place this week in Long Beach, California and was cancelled at the last minute for this reason.

Another maritime event of note, the Singapore Maritime Week which is due to take place in the week 18 – 24 April has been postponed, as has Marine Money China (3 – 4 March) and Sea Japan (11 – 13 March). Marine Money China hopes to now hold the event in November this year.

At some stage the full cost of the outbreak will be totalled, and even the marine side together with associated landside logistics will be tallied. Another final tally will be the loss of human life.

South Africa, thus far, is sitting this one out and hoping that things will stay that way.


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In news issued on 28 February it was learnt that the US 2nd Fleet, on behalf of US Naval Forces Europe and in conjunction with Military Sealift Command (MSC), was conducting convoy operations across the Atlantic, employing the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) alongside USNS Benavidez, and the vehicle carriers mv Resolve, and mv Patriot.

Sealift remains the primary method for transporting military equipment, supplies, and material around the world. With the return to peer competition and access to sea lanes no longer guaranteed, it is important that the US Navy and MSC train together in order to ensure the successful delivery and sustainment of combat power necessary for the joint force to fight and win anywhere around the globe.

200228-N-PI330-0543 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 28, 2020) A convoy comprised of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), bottom, the vehicle carrier MV Resolve, center, and the Military Sea Lift Command (MSC) roll-on roll-off cargo ship USNS Benavidez (T-AKR 306) steam in formation. This exercise simulates an opposed transit, testing the fleets' abilities to safely cross the Atlantic while testing new ways of conducting a convoy in today's maritime environment. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Waters/Released), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
A convoy comprised of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), bottom, the vehicle carrier MV Resolve, center, and the Military Sea Lift Command (MSC) roll-on roll-off cargo ship USNS Benavidez (T-AKR 306) steam in formation. This exercise simulates an opposed transit, testing the fleets’ abilities to safely cross the Atlantic while testing new ways of conducting a convoy in today’s maritime environment. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Waters/Released)

In the words of Captain Hans E Lynch, Commodore Military Sealift Command Atlantic: “In a real world conflict, much of the military equipment must still go by sealift, which makes convoy operations a critical skill set to maintain and practice. In the last five years, there has been an increased emphasis on including Merchant Marine shipping in large scale exercises to enhance tactical proficiency. Exercises that incorporate convoy operations are an extension of that ongoing tactical training.”

This exercise will simulate an opposed transit, testing the fleets’ abilities to safely cross the Atlantic while testing new ways of conducting a convoy in today’s environment.

As we well know convoy operations were critical during both World Wars as the primary method for moving troops and military equipment, supplies and material to Europe. After the Second World War convoys became less prevalent in the Atlantic theatre, although still practiced in other areas of operation.

Vice-Admiral Andrew Lewis, commander US 2nd Fleet added: “The Atlantic is a battlespace that cannot be ignored. We need to be prepared to operate at the high end alongside our allies, partners and adversaries alike as soon as we are underway.”

During operations in the Atlantic, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69), along with P-8s from VP-4 and a US submarine, cleared the maritime battlespace prior to the transit of the Vella Gulf-escorted MSC convoy.

Commander NAVEUR, Admiral James G Foggo III reflected: “The coordination between NAVEUR, 2nd Fleet, and 6th Fleet are indicative of a seamless Atlantic Ocean. This exercise allows us to sharpen our ability to move critical resources across the Atlantic, from the United States to Europe.”

He continued: “As I have said before, logistics is the sixth domain of warfare, and a critical part of any successful operation or exercise. The transatlantic bridge is just as important today for moving troops and military equipment, supplies and material from the United States to Europe as it has been at any point in history.”

The USN’s 2nd Fleet and 6th Fleet work together to ensure the security of sea-lanes of communication in the Atlantic. If called upon, the Department of Defense’s sealift transportation fleet expects to move approximately 90% of required assets from the US to the theatre of conflict. The safest and quickest way to get needed materials to the front lines is via maritime convoy.

“We, as a Navy, are inherently linked with the broader maritime industry and this exercise provides a great opportunity to train like we fight,” said Captain Andrew Fitzpatrick, commander, USS Vella Gulf. He added: “Practising convoy operations flexes a blue-water, high-end skill for the first time in many years, enabling us all to operate on, above, and below the sea in a contested environment.”

MSC operates approximately 110 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish US Navy ships, conduct specialised missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed US forces and coalition partners.

Commander Second Fleet (C2F) exercises operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft, and landing forces on the East Coast and the Atlantic. When directed, C2F conducts exercises and operations within the US European Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) as an expeditionary fleet, providing NAVEUR an additional manoeuvre arm to operate forces dynamically in theatre.

NAVEUR, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with Allied and interagency partners, in order to advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe.

This article is based on material kindly provided by Commander, US 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Transnet Pipeline System, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Another 15 suspects were arrested under suspicion of stealing diesel fuel from the Transnet pipeline leading from the port at Durban to Gauteng.

Thieves were recently arrested for a similar theft that took place near Heidelberg outside Johannesburg – see that story CLICK HERE

The latest theft took place at Ashburton, between…[restrict] Durban and Pietermaritzburg and swift action by the SA Police Services and Magma Security, a private security company resulted the arrests of 15 people on Saturday who were due to appear in the Camperdown Magistrates Court today (Monday 2 March).

The suspects were arrested while trying to pump diesel fuel from the pipeline into two road trucks, which together with a third truck, various tools and equipment including 17 cell phones and an amount of cash were confiscated by the police.

Two of those arrested are policemen based at the Camperdown Police Station.

KZN Police Commissioner said it was a disgrace that some police officers were found to be on the other side of the law.

“Such actions are an embarrassment to the police service and are punishable,” the Commissioner said.[/restrict]


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Al Shuwaikh, the livestock carrier that transported 57,000 sheep from East London to Kuwait late last year, featured in AfricaPORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Al Shuwaikh, the livestock carrier that transported 57,000 sheep from East London to Kuwait late last year

Saying that 70,000 sheep were let down in the High Court on Friday (28 February), the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) in South Africa had its High Court application in the Grahamstown High Court struck off the roll with costs, as a result of procedural issues.

“We are concerned that once again the merits of the case were unable to be argued. We believe there is still a strong case to be made,” said Marcelle Meredith, Executive Director of the NSPCA.

“Our roll however is not over,” she said. “Al Mawashi [the company exporting the sheep by sea] has conceded that the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962, and OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) standards must be adhered to. Al Mawashi and the NSPCA will engage on measures to ensure that the safe passage of the animals should be secured.”

Meredith said that on 27 February 2020, the attorneys acting on behalf of Al Mawashi requested that the NSPCA, various stakeholders, and Al Mawashi engage in order to find a solution for this dispute.

“Loading for the next shipment is due to begin on 17 March 2020. The NSPCA will engage with Al Mawashi to try and establish the best outcome for the animals involved, however, our stance is unchanged – our opposition to this practice on welfare grounds has been steadfast for decades. There is undoubted cruelty both during the lengthy sea voyage and at the destination.

“The undeniable suffering that takes place on these voyages from the time of loading at the feedlot, is something that has left even our most seasoned inspectors demoralised. We will see this through to the end, we only hope that the public will continue to support us and make their voices heard.” she said.

There are still three criminal cases of animal cruelty against those involved in the live export to Kuwait in October 2019, and one for the assault of one of the NSPCA inspectors. The NSPCA says these are still being investigated and will be vigorously pursued “until justice is served.”

The NSPCA was represented in the Grahamstown High Court by Advocate Gerrie Nel and other advocates from Afriforum, as well as Matthew Klein, Adv Kustav Weich and Justin Powers. The national airline Kulula made possible some of the flights to the Eastern Cape through sponsorship.


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Global voice on safety strengthened

Head of ICHCA International, Richard Brough OBE (right) and ABTO Chief Executive Simon Gutteridge sign a MoU on collaboration, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Head of ICHCA International, Richard Brough OBE (right) and ABTO Chief Executive Simon Gutteridge sign a MoU on collaboration

ICHCA International, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association, and ABTO, the Association of Bulk Terminal Operators, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaborative working between the organisations.

In a move that recognises both parties as leading voices in bulk cargo handling and operations, the MOU commits the organisations to…[restrict] the coordination of efforts to promote improved safety across the maritime industry.

“By working together, we strengthen the negotiating position of both bodies to improve safety regulations in the industry,” said Head of ICHCA International, Richard Brough OBE. “Our two organisations have a wealth of combined knowledge and expertise and we are confident that we will achieve more for our member businesses by working together on industry responses to key areas.

“ICHCA’s Dry Bulk Cargoes Working Group has been developing guidelines, regulations and recommendations to support ICHCA’s Technical Advisory service, which we are keen to develop and implement in partnership with ABTO, as we work alongside them at International Maritime Organization and other regulatory bodies to improve standards and working conditions together.”

ICHCA International and ABTO have agreed to be proactive in championing areas of common interest including confined space working, safety standards, GHG emissions and the IMSBC Code.

ABTO Chief Executive Simon Gutteridge said that the MOU signed with ICHCA will benefit the membership of both associations. “By formalising a relationship we have enjoyed with ICHCA over several years, we are able to better coordinate our efforts on international issues of common concern while strengthening our scope of influence at a regulatory level.”

Under the MOU, ICHCA and ABTO aim to establish joint technical and ad-hoc committees, initiate surveys and studies, and exchange research findings and publications where appropriate to strengthen information exchange.

The trade associations will also look to coordinate their respective events and seminar to encourage wider information exchange.[/restrict]


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Map of Block 2B on South Africa's West coast, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Africa Energy Corp, a Canadian oil and gas company with exploration assets offshore South Africa and Namibia, has announced the execution of two farmout agreements whereby the Company will transfer an aggregate 62.5% participating interest in the Exploration Right for Block 2B offshore South Africa in consideration for a carry through the next exploration well, Gazania-1, which is expected to spud by the end of 2020.

Africa Energy will retain…[restrict] a 27.5% participating interest in Block 2B.

“We are excited to farmout part of our interest in Block 2B and add a carried well to our very active and potentially transformational 2020 drilling program,” said Garrett Soden, Africa Energy’s President and CEO.

“Block 2B has the A-J1 oil discovery from 1988 in shallow water close to shore with significant contingent and prospective resources. The Gazania-1 well will target a relatively low-risk rift basin oil play up-dip from the discovery. We look forward to working with our new partners Azinam and Panoro to prove up more resource offshore South Africa.”

Block 2B is located in the Orange Basin and covers 3,604 square kilometres off the west coast of South Africa 300 kilometres north of Cape Town with water depths ranging from 50 to 200 metres. Oil was discovered and tested by Soekor in the A-J1 borehole drilled in 1988. Thick reservoir sandstones were intersected between 2,985 metres and 3,350 metres. The well was tested and flowed 191 barrels of oil per day of 36 degree API oil from a 10 metre sandstone interval at about 3,250 metres. Significant prospectivity has been identified over the entire A-J graben area using 686 square kilometres of 3D seismic data from 2013.

Africa Energy currently holds a 90% participating interest and is the operator of Block 2B. Crown Energy AB indirectly holds the remaining 10% participating interest. Closing of the farmout transactions is subject to standard conditions for a transaction of this type, including approval by the South African government.[/restrict]


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The Brazilian Navy patrol ship Amazonas which docked at the Port of Walvis Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The Brazilian Navy patrol ship Amazonas which has docked at the Port of Walvis Bay. Picture courtesy: Namport

A Brazilian Navy offshore patrol vessel, AMAZONAS arrived in the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay on Friday morning, 28 February, for a short visit.

BS Amazonas departed Brazil on 17 February and is remaining in Walvis Bay until Monday, 2 March.

While in Namibian waters Amazonas will participate in the Obangame Express 2020 exercise.

Obangame Express 2020 is a military exercise involving personnel from Africa, Europe and the Americas. The aim of the exercise is to improve and equip personnel taking part with skills necessary to employ in maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea against piracy, drugs and arms trafficking, hijacking of ships, illegal fishing and other illicit activities within the region.

During this annual operation, the Brazilian Navy will carry out exercises along the coasts of Angola, Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Throughout the visit of the vessel, military personnel from several navies will be on board ship in order to strengthen ties and compare operational procedures.

During the ship’s short stay in Walvis Bay the vessel will be open to the public on just one occasion, on Sunday 1 March.

Members of the public wanting to visit the ship will require entrance permits which are obtainable at the Port Security offices at the cost of N$6.90 per person above the age of 18. Visitors under the age of 18 will enter for free provided that they are accompanied by an adult.

Entrance will be at the South Gate close to the Lagoon area.


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Cable Restorer on her berth on the Simon's Town west breakwater this morning (Friday 28 Feb) , showing the list that developed overnight. Pictures by David Erickson and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Cable Restorer this morning (Friday 28 Feb) on her berth on the Simon's Town west breakwater and showing the list that developed overnight. Pictures by David Erickson, and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cable Restorer on her berth on the Simon’s Town west breakwater this morning (Friday 28 Feb) , showing the list that developed overnight. Pictures by David Erickson

The former subsea cable repair vessel CABLE RESTORER has developed an alarming list overnight (Thursday 27 February 2020), at her mooring alongside the West Breakwater at Simon’s Town Naval Harbour.

There is a pretty strong visitation of the ‘Cape Doctor’ this morning (Friday). Our reporter David Erickson advises that observing the ship, she is still afloat as there is movement of the mainmast. The good news is that since taking the photographs accompanying this report at around 07h30 this morning, the list has visibly diminished. “Hopefully we do not have a major recovery problem on or hands,” he reports.

The former HMS Bullfrog – Pennant Z.260 – was launched on 26 January 1944 from the Swan Hunter ‘Neptune’ yard on the river Tyne, UK.   A copy of the witness’ signatures in the Swan Hunter Guest Book is shown below.

Signatures of the witnesses to the launching on HMS Bullfrog in 1944, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Signatures of the witnesses to the launching on HMS Bullfrog in 1944

Further information about the ship is available by CLICKING HERE.

The ship is formally owned by the Trustees of Simon’s Town Museum, and has been for many years on Time Charter to Alderman L.H.D. Dilley, for various uses including Museum Ship, the “Roaring Forties” Floating Restaurant, film shoots, etc. Harry Dilley is a former Mayor of Simon’s Town who was instrumental in not only preserving the ship, but also in establishing Simon’s Town Museum in its present building, the former Dutch East India Company ‘Residency’ of 1777. He was also a Member of Parliament.

Dilley has been instructed by the Board of Trustees to prepare the vessel for removal from her current berth alongside the Naval Harbour, where she has been moored for many years. Attempts to interest ship preservation societies in various countries have not been successful, despite the vessel being in excellent condition throughout and complete with her original equipment and propulsion system.

Recently, work commenced in removing her interior fittings, which are being offered for sale.


Afternoon update of Cable Restorer, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The list on the Cable Restorer has been attended to and by late Friday afternoon, with the strong ‘Cape Doctor’ wind continuing to buffet the Simon’s Town area,  the vessel appeared to be hanging over towards the opposite port side, possibly as a result of the wind.

David Erickson
Simon’s Town

Cable Restorer on her berth in Simon's Town in 2006. Picture by David Erickson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Cable Restorer on her berth in Simon’s Town in 2006. Picture by David Erickson


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Ships alongside the quay at WACT, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Ships alongside the quay at WACT

Additional details are to hand about the upgrading of terminal facilities and equipment at the APM Terminals-operated West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) in the port of Onne, Eastern Nigeria. See our initial article APM Terminals boost for West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), Onne

The order for 20 new rubber tyred gantry (RTG) cranes has been placed with Finland’s Konecranes with the delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter 2020.

The order was booked…[restrict] in two parts, with the first placed in December 2019 and the second order in January 2020. Delivery will take place between the fourth quarter 2020 and the second quarter of 2021.

West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), operated by APM Terminals, is situated in the port of Onne and was one of the first container terminals to be built in Nigeria under the public/private ownership system.

WACT is in the process of changing from a reach stacker operated terminal to using RTGs in order to improve stacking density, throughput and productivity.

“As testament to APMT’s long-term commitment to East Nigeria, we have signed a contract with Konecranes for the delivery of 20 RTGs to Onne Port,” said Mohammed A Ahmed, Managing Director of APMT Nigeria.

He said this was part of APMT’s earlier announced expansion of the existing terminal capacity involving a US$100 million investment that started last year and that will be fully in place shortly. “The expansion plan will deliver sufficient capacity to meet the envisaged growth in East Nigeria for the next 15 years,”Ahmed said.

The Konecranes RTGs on order for WACT are diesel-driven, 16-wheel machines stacking 1-over-5 high and 7 containers + truck lane wide. They are equipped with Active Load Control, Auto-steering and Auto-TOS reporting.

“We’re very pleased to have received this order from APMT, one of the world’s leading container terminal operators and a long-time user of our RTG cranes. We have many customers on the west coast of Africa and Onne will be in good company,” said Ville Hoppu, Konecranes Port Solutions sales manager.[/restrict]


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Statistics for the calendar year 2019, courtesy TNPA, reveal that the eight ports under the control of the TNPA showed a marginal increase of 0.778% in cargo tonnages handled for the year compared with that of 2018. The actual tonnages handled for the 2018 calendar year was 296.582 million tonnes (mt), compared to 294.290mt achieved in the calendar year 2018.

Impressive exports of…[restrict] iron ore and manganese through the port of Saldanha certainly saved TNPA some blushes in 2019 whereas the lack of growth in container movements held back overall figures.

Figures for the five years from 2015 to 2019 are reflected below in the tables.

Container volumes at all ports decreased by 201,000 TEUs during the calendar year, finishing at 4.682 million TEU compared with 4.883m TEU in 2018, a disappointing trend that closely reflects the national economy. The previous calendar year for 2018 showed a 5.36% increase on 2017.

Port tonnages in this report include a calculation made for container weights where applicable, based on an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU. Africa PORTS & SHIPS is unique in presenting these figures this way, which present an accurate and historically comparable picture of the port performances. See the tables for details.

Details of volumes by individual port are set out below.

Figures for the respective ports during the calendar years 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015:


 PORT 2019 mt  2018 mt  2017 mt  2016 mt  2015 mt 
Richards Bay 98.699 103.550 99.984 99.588 102.657
Durban 81.211 83.161 78.106 76.828 79.840
Saldanha Bay 71.555 63.424 69.946 66.527 71.820
Cape Town 15.754 15.966 15.900 16.733 16.721
Port Elizabeth 13.065 13.096 11.676 11.229 11.538
Ngqura 12.846 11.703 11.022 7.789 8.649
Mossel Bay 1.527 1.744 1.832 2.518
East London 1.925 2.078 2.050 2.531 2.946
 Total all ports 296.582mt 294.290mt 290.428mt 283.058mt 296.689mt


CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs)

(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by TNPA

PORT  2019 TEUs 2018 TEUs 2017 TEUs 2016 TEUs 2015 TEUs
Durban 2,843,928 2,956,670 2,699,978 2,620,026 2,770,335
Cape Town 861,865 898,147 881,913 926,611 888,976
Port Elizabeth 164,864 184,208 168,283 152,455 216,629
Ngqura 744,660 774,899 806,090 572,021 636,663
East London 56,473 59,787 63,324 71,901 66,293
Richards Bay 10,206 6,510 15,241 12,302 19,011
Total all ports 4,682,000 TEUs 4,883,329 TEUs 4,634,829 TEUs 4,355,320 TEUs 4,597,922 TEUs


MOTOR VEHICLES HANDLED (measured by Units/tons)

PORT  2019 TEUs 2018 TEUs 2017 TEUs
Durban 521,280 487,162 455,374
Port Elizabeth 156,051 109,799 125,117
East London 96,591 103,576 110,120
Cape Town 70 70 78
Richards Bay 36 64 101
Total All Ports 774,028 700,671 691,490

SHIP CALLS MADE IN 2019 and 2018 with gross tonnages

 PORT 2019 vessels 2019 gt  2018 vessels 2018 gt 
Durban 3253 122,701,188 3061 114,375,272
Cape Town 2010 49,471,215 1604 47,669,847
Richards Bay 1,855 70,572,266 1922 72,619,945
Port Elizabeth 801 24,100,247 958 29,080,769
Saldanha Bay 661 42,836,996 433 31,943,202
Ngqura 638 34,929,065 556 33,895,606
East London 316 10,432,726 298 10,226,209
Mossel Bay 348 3,109,637 370 2,378,189
Total ship calls 9,882 358,153,340 9,202 342,189,039
– source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages



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