Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 22 March 2020

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Come with us as we report through 2020



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HSL Paraty. Picture: Trevor JOnes, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
HSL Paraty.   Picture by Trevor Jones

With the establishing of a second port in Algoa Bay, Ngqura, more than ten years ago, it wasn’t long before a container terminal that targeted transit cargo was developed, which rapidly became the Port of Ngqura’s Raison d’être. Originally there was hope that this transit cargo would involve the wider region – an ambition never quite realised. Nevertheless Ngqura handles a fair number of transit boxes for the congested ports of Durban and Cape Town and for this purpose a ship to handle this ‘shuttle’ between the coastal ports is considered essential. The 33,794-dwt HSL PARATY (IMO 9311830) is owned and managed by Hartman Dry Cargo of Leer, Germany and was built in 2004 and has a container capacity of 2,478 TEU.      Picture by Trevor Jones



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Kitack KLIm, IMO Secretary-General, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Kitack KLIm, IMO Secretary-General


In an address on 20 March IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim stressed the vital need to maintain commerce by sea and protect seafarers’ welfare in the face of the coronavirus shut down.

“The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire world in an unprecedented situation. To slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its impacts, travel is being curtailed and borders are being closed. Transport hubs are being affected. Ports are being closed and ships denied entry.

“In these difficult times, the ability for shipping services and seafarers to deliver vital goods, including medical supplies and foodstuffs, will be central to responding to, and eventually overcoming, this pandemic.

“It is, therefore, crucially important that the flow of commerce by sea should not be unnecessarily disrupted. At the same time, the safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment must also remain paramount.

“One of the goals of the IMO, as stated in its Convention, is to ensure availability of shipping services to the commerce of the world, for the benefit of humanity. I urge all IMO Member States to bear this in mind when framing their policy decisions with regard to the coronavirus. Defeating the virus must be the first priority, but global trade, in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner must be able to continue, too.

“We must also remember the hundreds of thousands of seafarers on ships. They are, unwittingly, on the front line of this global calamity. Their professionalism ensures that the goods we all need are delivered – safely and with minimal impact on our precious environment. These are people, usually far from home and family. Their own health and welfare is as important as that of anyone else.

“Again, I urge a practical and pragmatic approach, in these unusual times, to issues like crew changeovers, resupply, repairs, survey and certification and licensing of seafarers.

“Together with our industry partners and colleagues in the World Health Organization, IMO has been developing and issuing practical advice and guidance on a variety of technical and operational matters related to the coronavirus. You can find this on our website, and we will be updating this as appropriate as the situation develops.

“I will personally be initiating a series of meetings and consultations with leaders from shipping, ports and other key related sectors so that we can all better understand the issues being faced and develop sensible, practical and unified solutions.

“I have spoken many times of our ‘voyage together’. Never has the spirit of those words been more important than it is now.”

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Video copy of the SG’s message in which IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim stresses the vital need to maintain commerce by sea and protect seafarers’ welfare in the face of the coronavirus shut down:

Here is his 3 minute 20 second [03:20] video briefing issued on 20 March  CLICK HERE


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MSC Orchestra, a disturbed first season in South Africa, feautred in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
MSC Orchestra, a disturbed first and only season in South Africa


MSC Orchestra returned to Durban on Friday morning around 03h30, with owners having to explain why the ship sailed on Monday with between 2,804 passengers plus 900 crew despite new government regulations about to come into force.

According to MSC Cruises South Africa, the ship sailed into Mozambican waters but did …[restrict]not disembark passengers at the MSC coastal resort of Pomene as scheduled. Instead passengers spent the four days at sea before the return to Durban to ‘face the music’.

After some discussion 2,804 passengers began leaving the ship in batches of 100 – to comply with another newly enforced regulation. Those disembarking were taken to a site near the beachfront where they could be collected or take a taxi, instead of the normal disembarkation within the harbour.

Each passenger had to have their temperature checked and luggage sanitised. They are predominantly South Africans and permanent residents, with a small number of SADC nationals.

At 13h15 disembarkation of crew commenced. The disembarkation of crew will be completed on Monday in line with the availability of flights to their home countries.

Astor, from an earlier time, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Astor, from an earlier time., shown arriving in Durban. Picture: Terry Hutson


The much smaller cruise ship Astor arrived in Durban on Friday 20 March carrying only crew – her passengers did not board in Australia for the positioning voyage to Europe. As the Astor, which has been under charter to CMV Cruises, has completed her Australian cruise itinerary she is returning to Europe with Bremershaven shown as her destination. In May 2021 the ship will have new owners and undergo a name change to Jules Verne after which she will cruise in European, largely French waters.

This will therefore end a long association with South Africa, with Safmarine being one of her earliest owners/operators.

Queen Mary 2 in Durban on an earlier occasion. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Queen Mary 2 in Durban on an earlier occasion. Picture: Trevor Jones


Ships still shown as calling in Durban and South Africa are Arcadia, which apparently has a mere six passengers on board and is re-positioning back to Europe, Queen Mary 2 which has curtailed her World Cruise and will be returning to the UK, and Holland America’s Amsterdam, which is US and Canadian homeported but has currently been on a World Cruise and is now in Fremantle, Australia. It is possible she may arrive here for resupply only, with passengers having left her at her last port of call. On the other hand she may have some passengers and could return to the USA via some alternate route.

AIDAmira arriving off Durban earlier in the summer season. Picture: Trevor Jones
AIDAmira arriving off Durban earlier in the summer season. Picture: Trevor Jones


The German cruise ship AIDAmira which has operating fly/cruise options based from Cape Town for the past three months is another whose season has wrapped up early. Most of AIDAmira’s passengers were from Germany and were flown into the country specially for one of the cruises which went either on the Atlantic seaboard to Lüderitz and Walvis Bay and return or the southern and east coasts to Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, returning to Cape Town.

Last week the ship returned to Cape Town from Walvis Bay amid some concern for the health of those on board, and was initially denied entry into port. Six passengers, who arrived in the country on a flight that originated in Turkey, were quarantined on board when it was revealed that one of two seafarers who were joining the bulker MV Corona (yes, what a name at this time) was suspected of having the coronavirus and had been on the same flight.

Eventually the ship was allowed into port alongside the cruise terminal but no-one was allowed ashore until further tests and protocols had been observed. The news that all tests had come back negative was received with a loud cheer from passengers who nevertheless have to remain on board ship while arrangements are made in Germany to charter four aircraft to fly to Cape Town and repatriate some 1,243 German passengers. After this the ship will have to leave South African waters.

Silver Cloud in the ice from whence she has recently arrived. Picture: Silvesea Cruises, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Silver Cloud in the ice from whence she has recently arrived. Picture: Silvesea Cruises


Meanwhile another cruise ship, Silver Cloud arrived off Cape Town from Ushuaia in South America. As passengers had been on board for more than 14 days, during which the vessel visited the Falklands, Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, they have been allowed more leeway although agents for Silversea and local authorities working with Home Affairs were trying to find the quickest possible way of getting foreign nationals out of the country.

Norwegian Spirit. Picture: NCL, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Norwegian Spirit.   Picture: NCL


A third cruise ship also arrived off Cape Town, also on Friday 20 March, direct from Dubai. She is Norwegian Spirit with an unspecified number of passengers on board including some South Africans. The ship was low of fuel on arrival and has been permitted to enter port.

At present (Saturday morning 21 March) the port has three cruise ships at the cruise terminal and berths on either end.


New regulations announced on Wednesday 18 March 2020 prohibit crew changes and passenger ships at South African ports. The prohibition is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through South African ports.[/restrict]


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from the global maritime transport industry

ICS ITF banners,posted to Africa PORTS & SHIPS

From: Guy Platten
Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping
Stephen Cotton
General Secretary, International Transport Workers Federation

Director General, United Nations International Labour Organization

Secretary-General, United Nations International Maritime Organization

Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Director General, World Health Organization.


Facilitating Crew Changes to Keep World Trade Moving Throughout the Covid-19 Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold it is vital that all governments keep maritime trade moving by continuing to allow commercial ships access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the movement and rapid changeover of ships’ crews.

We are writing on behalf of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents the world’s national shipowners’ associations and over 80% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which speaks on behalf of approximately two million seafarers who operate the world’s internationally-trading commercial ships.

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold, it is important for the world’s governments to fully understand that around 90% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components – including vital medical supplies and many products sold in supermarkets, items that are necessary (due to complex supply chains) for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society simply cannot function.

In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and maritime trade and transport moving. In particular, this means keeping the world’s ports open for calls by visiting commercial ships, and facilitating crew changes and the movement of ships’ crews with as few obstacles as possible.

Every month, around 100,000 seafarers need to be changed over from the ships which they operate in order to comply with relevant international maritime regulations, governing safe working hours and crew welfare, so that they can continue to transport global trade safely.

We therefore wish to emphasise the vital need for the world’s professional merchant seafarers to be granted appropriate exemptions from any national travel restrictions, when joining or leaving their ships, in order to keep the world’s maritime supply chains functioning.

In view of their vital role during the global pandemic, we suggest that professional seafarers, regardless of nationality, should be treated as any other international ‘key workers’, such as airline crew and medical personnel. As such, they should be afforded special consideration and, notwithstanding the need to comply with emergency health protocols, treated with pragmatism and understanding when seeking to travel to and from their ships.

We therefore call on your organisations to highlight the critical importance of this issue with the governments of your member states.

We request, as a matter of urgency, that this topic be added to the agenda of appropriate high level meetings, and that national authorities in your organisations’ member states should be encouraged to engage immediately with their national shipowners’ association and national seafarers’ union, in order to find rapid solutions to this serious problem which otherwise risks impeding global efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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SAMSA crew, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) has set out guidelines on how management of sea going vessels falling within its scope of activities shall be dealt with, following the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid19), and which partly suspends some of its activities, such as ship surveys for a limited period of time.

The publication of two Marine Notices due for release this week, follows fresh on the pronouncement by the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula on Monday this week on steps the maritime safety agency will embark upon. That in turn came in the wake of South Africa President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa announcing on Sunday a National Disaster declaration aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid19 virus now rampant in just about every country in the world.

Ship surveys, audits or inspection

The first of the new Marine Notices announces the temporal suspension of ship surveys, audits or inspection from this week until 30 March 2020. “As of 16 March 2020, all statutory surveys, audits and inspections will be suspended for a period of 14 days.”

The second notice, “serves to inform vessels, Masters, crew, passengers, ship agents, Stevedores, surveyors, Ship managers, Ship owners and all other stakeholders with additional information in order to manage any suspected outbreak of Covid-19 onboard a vessel in the best possible way.”

In the former notice (temporal suspension of certain services) SAMSA states in part that: “Recognizing that, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, the industry is facing challenges in meeting statutory requirements stipulated in the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) and other relevant IMO Conventions, SAMSA has decided to provide guidance for dealing with the circumstances for example, extending seafarer periods of service onboard vessels, delaying periods for surveys, inspections and audits in a pragmatic and harmonized approach.

The agency then urges affected parties to read carefully the Marine Notice in order to ensure a clear understanding of its contents and how to enlist help when necessary.

In justification of the temporary suspension of services, SAMSA states: “SAMSA surveyors frequently travel to smaller fishing communities where there are no proper medical facilities in the area, other than a local clinic. SAMSA surveyors may therefore inadvertently spread the coronavirus to a local fishing community when visiting.

“Vessels operating from these communities, whose safety certificates expire before 15 April 2020, may request an extension on their safety certificates for up to 60 days, subject to change.

“In cases where Local General Safety Certificates (LGSC) are already expired, a re-issue of an LGSC will be considered on a case by case basis provided that the previous LGSC has not been expired for more than 60 days. To this end, payment for re-issue will need to be made.”

The Marine Notice then expands on the set of other services affected and provides guidance on how affected parties shall solicit and receive medical and related services under given sets of conditions and circumstances.

In the other Marine Notice, SAMSA provides extensive detail of measures currently being undertaken in South Africa to prevent the spread of the killer Covid-19 and arrangements, inclusive of contact details, to be utilised by affected parties in the maritime sector.

These also include recommended preventive measures against the spread of the virus within South African borders. source: SAMSA


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COVID-19: Department of Transport Regulation and Impact on Port Operations

TNPA banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) yesterday issued this statement informing stakeholders that the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, under sections 80(1) (g) of the National Ports Act, 2005 (Act No. 12 of 2005) has signed into effect new port-related Regulations to aid in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Crew Changes

The Regulations state that as of 18 March, no crew changes are permitted in the Ports of Saldanha and Mossel Bay until further notice. TNPA, however confirms that it has taken an executive decision to prohibit crew changes across all eight commercial ports in South Africa, namely Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London.

Passenger Travel

The Ministerial Regulations advise South African citizens and permanent residents to refrain from use of sea travel until further notice.

The Regulations prohibit passenger embarkation and disembarkation at all sea ports except under certain circumstances.

South Africa’s six cruise ports, Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London, will now only be permitted to allow disembarkation of a returning South African citizen and/or a permanent resident, or embarkation of a departing foreign national.

In addition, the national Department of Health earlier this week advised TNPA that “all sea cruises undertaken by cruise liner vessels into and out of any seaport within South Africa must be terminated until further notice.”

TNPA is working with affected cruise line companies and shipping agents to execute on this instruction as seamlessly as possible, noting that the 2019/20 cruise season was scheduled to end on 22 April 2020.

Emergency medical evacuation shall be managed utilising the existing Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre protocols.

No Ports Closed

TNPA wishes to clarify that no South African sea-port has been closed in its entirety and commercial cargo operations will continue at all ports. Media articles and other external communiques citing the total closure of any sea-port were a misinterpretation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 15 March 2020 remarks.

The Ministerial Regulations set out further protocols for provision of improved access and hygiene, sterilisation control on ships, sea ports and in licensed sea port operations, including that all persons entering the ports shall be screened for COVID-19.

TNPA and terminal operators must provide adequate facilities for hand washing and sanitization equipment at all entrances and exits.

TNPA is also required to implement a reporting, tracking, tracing and monitoring system for COVID-19 at its commercial ports.

Finally, the Ministerial Regulations state that no gathering of more than 100 people may be held in any sea port precinct until further notice.

These extraordinary measures are taken in recognition that it is important to ensure the health of employees and port users is not placed at risk.

In ending the statement TNPA said “All stakeholders are assured of our urgent attention to doing everything possible to safeguard our ports of entry.”

The statement was issued by Sabelo Mdlalose, Acting Chief Harbour Master, Transnet National Ports Authority.


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Crude oil tanker Advantage Sky to be auctioned, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Crude oil tanker Advantage Sky to be auctioned

A crude oil tanker detained at the outer anchorage of Durban, ADVANTAGE SKY (IMO 9419888) is to come under the auctioneer’s hammer on Monday, 6 April 2020.

The sale…[restrict] is a result of a High Court of South Africa judgement of the KwaZulu-Natal Local Division at Durban, Case number A98/2019.

The sale will take place however from Cape Town, in the offices of attorneys Webber Wentzel, 15th Floor, Heerengracht, commencing at 11h00 (SA time).

Advantage Sky was built in 2010 at Jiangsu Ronsheng Heavy Industry Group in China. The tanker is flying the Marshall Islands flag, Call sign is V7KZ2, Official number 6197.

The tanker has a gross tonnage of 83,805t and deadweight of 156,658 tons.Her length is 274 metres and width 48.03m and current draught is 8.7 metres.[/restrict]

Crude oil tanker Advantage Sky to be auctioned, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS


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Kalmar rubber tyre gantry (RTG), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Kalmar rubber tyre gantry (RTG) similar to the six ordered for the port of Dar es Salaam

Cargotec’s crane specialist Kalmar has been awarded a contract to supply Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) with a total of six Kalmar rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes for use at Dar es Salaam port. The RTGs are scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2021.

The port of Dar es Salaam handles about 95% of Tanzania’s international trade and serves…[restrict] the landlocked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. The port is strategically placed to serve as a convenient freight link not only with East and Central Africa but also with the Middle East, Far East, Europe, Australia and America.

TPA and Kalmar have developed a productive and collaborative working relationship over the years, and Kalmar’s solution to support TPA’s expansion plan in Dar es Salaam was the best fit for the company.

According to Kalmar their RTG combines the best of diesel and electric technology for fuel savings, low emissions and easy maintenance. At 1,000 hours, it has one of the longest maintenance intervals in the industry, while its modular design makes it easy to tailor to customer requirements.

The units delivered to TPA will be configured to handle 6+1 wide with 1-over-5 high stacking and will have a lifting capacity of 40 tonnes under the spreader. They will also be equipped with a variable speed generator, which enables even greater fuel economy and lower emissions by automatically optimising RPM according to the required power.

“The relationship between TPA and Kalmar goes all the way back to 1987 when we delivered our first diesel-electric RTGs to the customer,” said Mikko Mononen, Vice President, Sales, EMEIA, Kalmar.

“As one of our longest-standing customers, we are very pleased to continue our collaboration going forward and look forward to supporting them in achieving their strategic objectives for Dar es Salaam port.”[/restrict]


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Holland America's Amsterdam remains scheduled to call in South Africa but owing to the prohibition on further cruise ships this is unlikely. Here the ship is seen arriving in Durban during her World Cruise of 2013. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Holland America’s Amsterdam remains scheduled to call in South Africa but owing to the prohibition on further cruise ships this is unlikely. Here the ship is seen arriving in Durban during her World Cruise of 2013. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp

New regulations prohibit cruise liners at SA’s sea ports

The introduction of new regulations that came into effect on Wednesday has brought an otherwise highly successful Southern Africa cruise season for 2019/2020 to a sudden end.

The new regulation which aims at mitigating the effect of the COVIS-19 pandemic, means that all cruise ships entering South Africa via its sea ports are prohibited from allowing passengers or crew to disembark.

The regulations follow President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of the disease constituting a state of national disaster on Sunday.

The announcement was made as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa rose by 31 to 116. This has since risen to more than 150.

The regulations give effect to the prohibition of embarkation and disembarkation of passengers at all the eight sea ports. In terms of these regulations, no passenger vessels will be allowed in South Africa’s ports, said transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

“In essence, there is a total ban on cruise ships. This affects all leisure travellers. With effect from today, no cruise ships will be permitted to call into South African ports or will any be allowed to leave our shores,” he said.

Having said that, one cruise ship, AIDAmira is currently (Thursday evening) at the Cape Town cruise terminal. Several other cruise ships are likely to call in a South African port or ports within the next few days and weeks in order to replenish fuel and possibly supplies.

Among these vessels are Silver Cloud (outside Cape Town), Queen Mary 2, Norwegian Spirit (already outside Cape Town), Astor, and Holland America’s Amsterdam.

Other vessels to cancel their scheduled calls in this time are Le Lyrial, Insignia and Pacific Princess. Le Lyrial has already completed a call at Cape Town but was due at the east coast ports.

Mbalula said to minimise the adverse effects of the virus on the economy, cargo vessels docking on the country’s sea ports would not be affected.

“All of our eight sea port operations and cargo handling work will continue.”

“The current regulations and measures do not prohibit trade. Cargo ships will still be allowed to call into our ports to off-load and to on-load cargo. This is to minimise the adverse effects of the virus on our economy and our global trade position,” he said.

However, Mbalula said the new regulations would prohibit crew changes for all types of vessels, including merchant ships.

“We are aware that in the normal course of ship operations the local ship workers [stevedores and other dock workers] do come into contact with ship crews and this is one point of possible contamination that we have requested port authorities to manage. Personal protective equipment and wear has to also be provided to these workers,” he said.

Temperature screening, improved hygiene

Temperature screening at sea ports would be heightened.

“The Port Health section of the national Department of Health, has heightened its screening of personnel and individuals with our ports of entry and also at six of the eight sea ports. The screening is important and will be continuous to identify possible cases. Two sea ports that don’t have port health capability are Mossel Bay and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape,” he said.

The minister added that the regulations also prohibited the gathering of more than 100 people at a sea port.

“Movement of workers and people also has to managed to limit human interaction and promote social distance,” he said.


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Scenic views from Antarctica, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Scenic views from Antarctica

A Chemical Technician at the Walter Sisulu University based National Pollution Laboratory, Lonwabo Nettie, has returned from his environmental research quest to change protocol and prevent pollution in Antarctica.

Nettie’s aim was to root out any source of pollutants near the South African National Antarctic…[restrict] Expedition (SANAE IV) base as a results of research activities conducted at the South African Antarctic research base located in Vesleskarvet, Queen Maud Land.

Nettie probed heavy metal and entrapped organic compounds around the SANAE IV base that is part of the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) and is operated by the South African National Antarctic Expedition.

“South Africa’s continued participation in Antarctica will allow for continued collection of data by the South African Weather Services (SAWS) and South African National Space Agency (SANSA), whose data goes a long way in predicting the day to day weather in our country and understanding natural phenomenon,” said Nettie.

In-line with global efforts to reduce climate change, Netties research will go a long way in addition to the world’s concerted effort towards a greener approach to science and industrialisation.

Lonwabo Nettie in Antarctica, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Lonwabo Nettie in Antarctica

“The investigation will assist in determining whether the activities being done on the base have a direct impact on the surroundings over time and to what effect,” he said.

Nettie outlined the grid sampling processes used to obtain the sample around the base which will then be analysed using GC-MS for organic compound identification and quantification and ICP-MS for heavy metal quantification.

“We are basically investigating if there any type of chemical pollutants, often in the form of heavy metals and organic compounds, around the SANAE IV base.

“South Africa is a member of the Antarctic treaty which also commits to the use of the continent for research purposes and keeping the environment as pristine as when we arrived,” he said.

Nettie added that visual evaluation had been and is still being done, however, none that can actually tell you what is the pollutant and how much of it is present in the area.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) funded the project and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WSU for the East London-based university to host the National Pollution Laboratory as part of Operation Phakisa Projects.[/restrict]


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TNPA banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said in a statement yesterday that it has noted the new port-related Regulations signed into effect by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, on 18 March 2020, under sections 80(1) (g) of the National Ports Act, 2005 (Act No. 12 of 2005).

These Regulations are intended to aid in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 through the country’s sea ports.

The minister’s media conference yesterday followed by TNPA’s statement helps answer and clarify some of the issues facing ship and crew movements, and in particular of the cruise ships, at the South African ports.


This was one of the unclear issues after various statements were made concerning ports and crew changes.

The Regulations state that as of 18 March, no crew changes are permitted in the Ports of Saldanha and Mossel Bay until further notice because these ports do not have Port Health capabilities as provided by the Department of Health.

TNPA, however confirms that it has taken an executive decision to prohibit crew changes across all eight commercial ports in South Africa, namely Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London.


The new Ministerial Regulations advise South African citizens and permanent residents to refrain from use of sea travel until further notice.

They further prohibit passenger embarkation and disembarkation at all sea ports except under certain circumstances.

South Africa’s six cruise ports, Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London, will now only be permitted to allow disembarkation of a returning South African citizen and/or a permanent resident, or embarkation of a departing foreign national.

In addition, the national Department of Health earlier this week advised TNPA that “all sea cruises undertaken by cruise liner vessels into and out of any seaport within South Africa must be terminated until further notice.”

TNPA says it is working with affected cruise line companies and shipping agents to execute on this instruction as seamlessly as possible, noting that the 2019/20 cruise season was scheduled to end on 22 April 2020.

However, the current cruise season is now at an end with the return on Friday of MSC Orchestra from Mozambique. Certain other ships will dock at South African ports to refuel and resupply and also to disembark where possible passengers.

The cruise ship Norwegian Spirit, as already reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS, is en route to Cape Town and is reporting to be low on fuel, hence arrangements are being made to accommodate this ship.

Queen Mary 2 is understood to have few passengers on board with most having left the ship before QM2 sailed from Fremantle in Australia after the abandonment of her 2020 World Cruise. The ship’s call at Cape Town will be of a ‘service nature’ only.

Norwegian Spirit, heading for Cape Town and low on fuel, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Norwegian Spirit, heading for Cape Town and low on fuel

MEDICAL Evacuation

In terms of existing Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre protocols, emergency medical evacuation will continue to be available to shipping in South African waters.


TNPA said in its statement that it needed to clarify that no South African sea-port has been closed in its entirety and commercial cargo operations will continue at all ports.

The port authority claimed that media articles and other external communiques citing the total closure of any sea-port were a misinterpretation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 15 March 2020 remarks.


The Ministerial Regulations set out further protocols for provision of improved access and hygiene, sterilisation control on ships, sea ports and in licensed sea port operations, including that all persons entering the ports shall be screened for COVID-19.

As a result, TNPA and terminal operators must provide adequate facilities for hand washing and sanitisation equipment at all entrances and exits.

TNPA is also required to implement a reporting, tracking, tracing and monitoring system for COVID-19 at its commercial ports.

Finally, the Ministerial Regulations state that no gathering of more than 100 people may be held in any sea port precinct until further notice.


The German cruise ship AIDAmira, which has been operating on the South African coast for several months, returned to Cape Town this week from Walvis Bay with six passengers having been quarantined on board. This was a result of a coronavirus scare – the six passengers who joined the ship in Cape Town ahead of the visit to Walvis Bay, had flown into South Africa from Turkey. Also on the flight were two crewmen for the bulk carrier CORONA, one of whom began showing signs of the coronavirus infection after the Corona (the ship, not the virus) sailed from Cape Town.

That ship has returned to Cape Town and both men were evacuated by SA Air Force helicopter and taken to hospital for assessment and treatment.

The six passengers who joined AIDAmira have since been tested and found to be free of the virus. As a result it is expected that the passengers will be allowed to disembark and will be taken to Cape Town International Airport to return home overseas.

There are 1,240 passengers and 486 crew on board the cruise ship.

Two other cruise vessels have disembarked their passengers and have sailed from Cape Town. They are WORLD ODYSSEY and LE LYRIAL. Meanwhile, SILVER CLOUD has arrived off Cape Town from Ushuaia, via the Falklands, Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island and will hope to be allowed to enter port today.

Silver Cloud has arrived off Cape Town from South America and the South Atlantic islands, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Silver Cloud has arrived off Cape Town from South America and the South Atlantic islands. Picture: Wikipedia


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Posidonia Banner featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS


The organisers of this year’s annual Posidonia held in Greece have had to postpone Posidonia 2020 as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic now sweeping across the world.

“In view of the escalating challenges we all face as a result of the Coronavirus-COVID-19 pandemic and the need to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our exhibitors and visitors while at the same time complying with WHO and Greek Government guidelines, we have decided to postpone Posidonia 2020 from the 1st to 5th June 2020 to the 26th to 30th October 2020 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo, together with all related Posidonia sports events and conferences.”

The organisers said they could not delay this decision any longer for travel and logistical reasons. “We have taken this step in consultation with Posidonia’s Supporting Organisations who have confirmed their agreement and support for the October dates.”

Details of the October schedule will be posted to the Posidonia website within the next few days.


Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has postponed the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) to 30 June 2020.

The company said it was taking this step out of concern for the health of its shareholders, management, supervisory board members and employees. “According to the statutory notice period, the AGM agenda will be published on 19 May 2020.”

In a statement Boskalis said it is closely following the developments and guidelines issued by the Dutch authorities with regard to the COVID-19 (corona) virus and expressly reserves the right to take any further measures with regard to the AGM, including but not limited to limiting the number of participants in the meeting, or the possible further postponement of the AGM.

Further updates will appear on the Boskalis website


Maersk, the world’s largest container line, has suspended crew changes for all operated ships amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Crew changes are suspended for four weeks effective immediately until 14 April 2020.

Maersk said the decision is based on the need to keep crew safe while maintaining operations as normal as possible.

“Keeping our people safe is paramount to A.P. Moller – Maersk and given the current situation we can better protect our seafarers by suspending the exchange of crew, as this lessens the number of social interactions they need to have.

“Secondly, the rapid changes to global travel poses a risk of stranding seafarers in transit, in locations from where they are unable to leave or get sufficient assistance.”

Maersk said it has been in contact with all relevant authorities and organisations and will closely coordinate on any legal or compliance matters to resolve these while ensuring continued safe operation of its fleet.


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IALA 14th Symposium banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and IALA (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) regrettably announce that the 14th IALA Symposium and all activities planned for 24 – 29 May 2020 will unfortunately have to be postponed.

As a result, staff at IALA have started looking for an alternative date sometime in the first six months of 2021.

As soon a new date is found it will, of course, be announced.


With regard to refunding arrangements it is understood that the symposium organising committee will separately inform participants who have already registered and all sponsors of, and potential exhibitors at, the event.

Reported by Paul Ridgway



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MSC Joanna, nabbed for sulphur violation. Picture Hafen-Hamburg, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
MSC Joanna, nabbed for sulphur violation. Picture Hafen-Hamburg

An MSC container ship, MSC JOANNA (IMO 9304435), has the dubious honour of becoming, it is thought, the first ship to be prosecuted and banned from a port over violations concerning the 0.5% sulphur fuel cap.

The 9,178-TEU MSC Joanna called in the UAE and was discovered to be carrying more than 700 tonnes of HSFO when inspected in Jebel Ali port. The vessel does not have scrubbers, in violation of the IMO ruling that came into effect as from 1 March 2020.

The vessel had been given instructions in advance of her arrival in port to de-bunker the non-compliant HSFO.

The port regulator stated that although the master and crew of MSC Joanna had been ordered to offload the HSFO before sailing, the ship departed without doing so and without obtaining permission from Port State Control officials to depart.

As a result the ship has been banned from working in UAE waters and ports and the master will face legal action. The master is also barred from working on any ship calling in UAE waters.

The 2006-built MSC Joanna has been operating between Mediterranean and Arabian Seas including the Arabian/Persian Gulf, with frequent calls in UAE ports.


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Port of Mombasa Container Terminal featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port of Mombasa first Container Terminal, taking strain

As global shipping reacts to evolving issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis, the Kenya port of Mombasa has begun feeling the effect with fewer ships and less cargo.

Reports from Mombasa say the port has had a large number of cancellations from various shipping companies – 37 ships in total so far, and is now experiencing one of its lowest ever performances regarding…[restrict] cargo handled.

Although ship numbers improved in February, many of the vessels arrived with little cargo as a significant number of containers had been left behind in China. This loss, said Dr Daniel Manduku, managing director of Kenya Ports Authority, was being felt all along the supply chain, with the worst hit being the standard gauge railway (SGR) rail freight services operating directly from the port.

He warned that as a result of the sudden and unexpected downturn, Kenya might fail to meet its revenue target, forcing it to seek alternative funds to repay the SGR loan.

Many of the ship cancellations are for vessels sailing between China and East Africa, a situation that will not improve until China itself is restored to economic health.

A report in The East African stated that China supplies more than 40 per cent of Kenya’s annual imports. Kenya Ports Authority chief is quoted saying that although the KPA has yet to quantify the business loss, if the pandemic is not contained soon, the KPA can expect further reductions in the number of vessels, especially from China.

He said the reduction in shipping has in particular affected the number of transshipment vessels calling at Mombasa.

According to the CEO of Kenya Importers and Small Trader’s Association, Samuel Karanja, members of the association have lost almost US$300 million since the outbreak with goods stuck in China.

Meanwhile, the development of a new $300 million cruise terminal at Mombasa has been placed on hold.[/restrict]


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Port statistics for the month of February 2020, 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 February amounted to 24.816mt (24.228 million tonnes in January 2020).

For comparison with the equivalent month of last year, February 2019 CLICK HERE

These statistic reports on Africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by TNPA and include containers recorded by weight; an adjustment necessary because TNPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation,  Africa PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting.  Africa PORTS & SHIPS  will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

Port Statistics continue below

Port of Saldanha scene, the ore bulker Coppet (IMO 8718134) on berth at the iron ore terminal. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port of Saldanha scene, the ore bulker Coppet (IMO 8718134) on berth at the iron ore terminal. Picture: Terry Hutson

Figures for the respective ports during February 2020 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during February 2020, including containers by weight

PORT February 2020 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.798
Durban 6.899
Saldanha Bay 5.834
Cape Town 1.571
Port Elizabeth 1.098
Ngqura 1.238
Mossel Bay 0.145
East London 0.233
Total all ports 24.816 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during February 2020
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT February 2020 TEUs
Durban 253,317
Cape Town 74,825
Port Elizabeth 3,625
Ngqura 56,208
East London 5430
Richards Bay 1314
Total all ports 394,719 TEU

MOTOR VEHICLES RO-RO TRAFFIC (measured by Units- CEUs) during February 2020

PORT February 2020 CEUs
Durban 38,79
Cape Town -2
Port Elizabeth 13,357
East London 8,646
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 60,795 CEU

SHIP CALLS for February 2020

PORT February 2020 vessels gross tons
Durban 270 10,392,217
Cape Town 165 4,714,950
Richards Bay 148 6,101,564
Port Elizabeth 86 2,233,779
Saldanha Bay 53 3,377,058
Ngqura 68 2,843,328
East London 32 1,065,626
Mossel Bay 31 234,668
Total ship calls 853 30,963,190
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&S


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Apapa Container Terminal, Lagos,featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Apapa Container Terminal, Lagos

AP Moller, the parent company of Nigerian subsidiary AP Moller Terminals (APMT), which operates the Apapa Container Terminal, has responded to threats by the Nigerian Ports Authority that is would cancel the concession lease by dismissing its APMT managing director, Martin Jacobs, according to reports from Nigeria.

The NPA gave APMT a 30-day ultimatum to say how it would attend to inefficiencies and delays at the terminal. The ultimatum period ended a week ago.

See our report last week NPA threatens to cancel APM Terminals Apapa concession: negative report on Lagos terminal delays

A meeting was held in The Hague between senior management of AP Moller and the NPA with the NPA delegation led by the NPA managing director, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman.

Following the revelation that Martin Jacob was being replaced, it was learnt that Klaus Laursen, the MD of APMT’s Poti seaport in Georgia would take over the managing director’s position at the troublesome Lagos terminal.

AP Moller has also undertaken to increase investments in cargo handling equipment at the Apapa terminal as a further measure aimed at improving ship turnaround times.

According to reports, ships are delayed by 30 days when arriving at Apapa. The delays at neighbouring Tin Can Island Container Terminal are reported as 20 days.

As a result of this development, the NPA has extended the ultimatum given to APMT to show improvements at Apapa, by an additional 90 days commencing 1 April 2020.

Apapa Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Apapa Container Terminal. Picture: APMT


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Fairplay Towage now operating in the Canary Islands, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

On 13 March the Fairplay Towage Group announced that it had been awarded the licence to operate harbour tugs in the port Las Palmas / Gran Canary and extended its operational area now into Spanish waters for the first time.

Walter Collet MD and spokesman of Fairplay Towage Group: “We are confident, that this expansion into Spanish waters will be appreciated by our international clients. The preparation and…[restrict] the necessary documentation of our application under Spanish rules was quite challenging. The conditions to be met are considerably higher compared to other jurisdictions in Europe, however our Fairplay Team and legal consultants handled all aspects of the licensing process very focused and professional.

Collet added: “Our tugs all named after landmarks on the Canary Islands already performed the first assistances in the Port of Las Palmas. The fleet currently consists of four modern tugs under Spanish flag manned by Spanish sailors under a local Spanish contract. This setup allows us to offer to our clients an attractive and competitive package for harbour towage and for the first time clients have a choice in the Port of Las Palmas.

“Currently the licence Conditions for the surrounding waters at Lanzarote, Tenerife and Fuerteventura are under review. Once the conditions have been published Fairplay Towage Group will comply with such conditions in order to work in the entire Canary Islands region. At the same time we are of course monitoring the developments on the Spanish mainland.”

The Fairplay Towage Group activities are handled by the Spanish outfit Odiel Towage SLU. The office located in Las Palmas is also coordinating the local harbour towage operations.

The Fairplay Towage Group operates a fleet of more than 100 tugs and ranks among the leading European tugowners. It is headquartered in Germany with branches in Poland, Belgium, Netherlands and Bulgaria. After the successful takeover of the German Bugsier Group in 2017 Fairplay Towage Group is also a leading O & G Service Provider in the North Sea and the Baltic. The Group also operates several Oil Recovery vessels and the Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV) in Germany and the Netherlands as part of the European Coastal Protection Scheme.

Our illustration above shows an example of Fairplay Group tonnage, not necessarily part of its fleet in Spanish waters.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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To help take our minds off depressing matters like the COVID-19 pandemic, spend the next few minutes off the beaches of Durban, on South Africa’s lovely coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Anup Rampiar, Operations Manager at Ameropa Commodities in Durban has been surfski paddling in his spare time for the past year or so, venturing off the coast of Durban in the company of fellow surfski paddlers.

While paddling early one morning a couple of kilometres off the North and Snake Park beaches of Durban’s beachfront, he and the other paddlers were suddenly joined by a pod of about 30 dolphins.

“It was an unbelievable feeling and such an amazing sight. I had encountered a pod of dolphins on a paddle off the coast about eight months ago and I had no GoPro or cellphone on me that I could record the moment. So I decided every time I paddled to take my phone with me and I was incredibly lucky to be joined by this pod of dolphins. There were other paddlers and surfers in the water with me who were loving the experience,” he told Northglen News, a suburban newspaper

Rampiar said there were times when he could hear them communicating underwater with their clicks and whistle. “I hope this encourages others to soak up what Durban has to offer because you don’t see this everyday. We are incredibly fortunate on the KZN north coast and this is an experience I’ll never forget.”

Video [09:40] Anup Rampiar


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AIDAmira in Durban earlier this year. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
AIDAmira in Durban earlier this year. Picture: Trevor Jones

South African port landlord Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has confirmed reports that two vessels in the Port of Cape Town are being held off port limits after a crew member onboard one of the vessels began to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

It was later established he had been on a flight with a fellow crew member and six passengers who went on to board the cruise vessel AIDAmira at the port.

This is the first suspected case of COVID-19 in a South African sea-port. The two crew members had flown into the country from Istanbul, Turkey on 9 March. Only one of the two is showing signs of being ill, however both have been placed into isolation onboard the (unfortunately named} bulk carrier MV Corona (IMO 9169342).

MV Corona left the Port of Cape Town on Wednesday, 11 March. On Friday, 13 March the Master of this vessel contacted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and the Port Health unit of the National Department of Health, confirming one crew member was exhibiting symptoms and requesting that the vessel returns to the Port of Cape Town for evacuation. Permission was granted by both authorities.

Upon arrival on Monday, 16 March 2020, the vessel waited off port limits. MRCC, Port Health and the Harbour Master of the Port of Cape Town have coordinated efforts to evacuate both crew members by arranging with the Airforce helicopters for the suspected crew member to be transported to hospital.

Six passengers on-board the Italian flagged MV AidAmira passenger vessel had been on the same flight as the crew members of the MV Corona. However, according to the Master and the Doctor onboard the passenger liner, the six have shown no symptoms of the virus but are in isolation and being monitored continuously.

Meanwhile, AIDAmira has been operating between Port of Cape Town and Walvis Bay and South African east coast ports this cruise season. The vessel sailed on Friday, 13 March from the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia with 1240 passengers and a total crew of 486 on board. The ship was on her voyage back to the Port of Cape Town, when TNPA was informed by Port Health Cape Town that six passengers had been on the same flight as the two MV Corona crew members.

The Master of the AIDAmira immediately quarantined the six passengers to prevent the spread of the infection to other passengers and crew onboard. The ship arrived outside the Port of Cape Town on Sunday, 15 March 2020. A Joint Operation Centre (JOC) was set up on 16 March 2020 inclusive of TNPA Harbour Master, SAMSA (MRCC), Port Health and a specialist doctor. After careful consideration of the facts by the JOC, the vessel was permitted to dock on the 16 March 2020.

The six passengers have been evacuated and taken to the hospital for testing and thereafter will be taken to a quarantined area arranged by Port Health Officials. The rest of the passengers would remain quarantined on board until the test results for the six are received, thereafter a decision will be made based on the results.

So far only one of the two crew members on-board the MV CORONA has shown symptoms of being sick and no passengers or crew onboard AIDAmira are exhibiting any symptoms.

Transnet National Ports Authority is responsible for ensuring that all vessels have been cleared by relevant state organs namely, Port Health, Migration, MRCC and customs before entering or leaving the Port.

The port authority is also tasked with ensuring compliance of safety of navigation of vessels, safety of life and safety of environment in the Port.


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MSC Orchestra - balance of season cancelled. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
MSC Orchestra – balance of SA season cancelled.

MSC Cruises South Africa announced this morning the cancellation of the balance of the current summer 2019/20 cruise season that involves MSC Orchestra.

In making the announcement the company said this was in connection with the COVID-19 virus and after consulting with stakeholders and government.

The current season with the ship was intended to go on until the end of April, with cruises to Mozambique destinations out of Durban and a short season operating from Cape Town.

The last cruise departed yesterday (Monday) and returns Friday 20 March. The ship’s destination is Pomene in central Mozambique with a call also at Portuguese Island.

Ross Volk, Managing Director of MSC Cruises South Africa, said this was not a decision taken lightly “but under the current circumstances, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities ashore – including our employees and their families – must come first. As a family company with over 300 years of maritime tradition, we felt that this was the right decision to make.”

MSC said that customers will receive a voucher for the value of their current 2019/2020 cruise package, which they can redeem in the upcoming local cruise season in 2020/2021. In addition, they will also receive shipboard credit of US$50 per cabin to be used on a cruise in the next season.

For any other expenses that they may have incurred, such as flights, hotels, transport, etc. they will however need to contact their travel insurance company or supplier directly.

Contact details (email) for MSC Cruises in South Africa at the Customer Care department


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– destined for Tanga Port, Tanzania

Hapa Kazi Tu 01 shortly after launching. Picture: SECO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapa Kazi Tu 01 shortly after launching.    Picture: SECO

Southern Engineering (SECO), based in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, has launched two cargo-handling barges for its client, Tanzania Port Authority (TPA).

The barges are to go into service at the Tanzanian port of Tanga.

Each barge is 72 ft long (22 metres) and has the capacity to carry 2,000 tonnes of dry cargo or 72 20ft containers (TEU).

The barges, named HAPA KAZI TU 01 and HAPA KAZI TU 02, have undergone testing and certification to operate.

According to SECO General Manager, Sanjiv Nair, the two barges will be delivered during March 2020 and will go into operations around Tanga port and the surrounding coastal waters.

“With local assembly, it is easier to provide after sales management at the facility’s dry dock. Local assembly also creates the growth of the needed technology, create a human resource of technical support and create more jobs with a huge economic spillover,” Nair said.

Pilot Boat for Tanzania Port Authority. Picture: SECO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Pilot Boat for Tanzania Port Authority.    Picture: SECO

Three Pilot Boats

He revealed that SECO has been awarded contracts to build and deliver three pilot boats also for the TPA.

These are designed to the specifications of Western Australia-based naval architecture firm Southerly Designs.

The vessels will have a length of 20 metres, depth of 3 metres, and a draught of 1.7 metres.

Constructed in steel with an aluminum superstructure and classed by Bureau Veritas, the deckhouse will include seating for two crew and up to 12 passengers, while accommodation for three crew will be provided below deck.

A notable feature of these hulls is the twin skeg arrangement, offering outstanding protection to the running gear and facilitating the use of oversized rudders. The twin keels will provide significantly improved directional stability and roll damping.

Large, direct glazed windows will provide true 360-degree visibility from the central conning position with overhead windows providing clear visibility for approach to the ship and pilot boarding facility. In addition, the split arrangement of the forward deck railings provides an unobstructed view ahead.

Delivery of these boats is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020.

SECO is not new to boat building, and has built several other vessels in recent years. In 2012 the Mombasa company was contracted by the Uganda Government to build four ferries for operating on the Great Lakes.

Three of the passenger ferries, MV BISINA, MV OBANGI, and MV LAROPI are modular vessels in service on the Okokorio and Agule route, the Sinyanya channel and Umi routes respectively. The fourth vessel MV ALBERT NILE 1 is a RoRo modular passenger/vehicle ferry plying its trade on Lake Albert.

Pilot Boat for Tanzania Port Authority. Picture: SECO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Watch short video [0:33] showing the launching of HAPA KAZI TU 01


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AfCFTA Africa map, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Tariff schedules related to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) must be finalised ahead of the implementation of the agreement in July, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Fikile Majola.

Speaking at an economic policy dialogue on Friday, the Deputy Minister said the tariff schedule listing all products covered by the agreement for tariff liberalisation and the indispensable rules of origin must be finalised to ensure that the implementation date of 1 July 2020 is met.

Majola told those attending the dialogue in Cape Town that…[restrict] the current administration has a responsibility to work with other African Union Member States to finalise the detailed modalities.

This must be done in order to establish a platform on which the benefits of the AfCFTA can be derived for both South Africa and its African counterparts.

Majola emphasised that there was a need to be ready to take full advantage of the opportunities that will become available in the ongoing implementation of AfCFTA agreement.

“While this policy dialogue aims to discuss the AfCFTA with the intention of determining its bearing on South Africa, it is prudent to give a glimpse into the possible trade and economic spin-offs for our country.

“Though some opinion-makers indicate that the AfCFTA is very ambitious because of the many disparities between the countries’ development stages, especially relating to trade capabilities, infrastructure and administrative frameworks such as competition and intellectual property policies.

“Notwithstanding such deficiencies, we are confident that the potential benefits of the AfCFTA will be significant in increasing intra-Africa trade and foreign direct investment,” said Majola.

The Deputy Minister also spoke about challenges facing trade on the African continent.

“Africa’s vulnerabilities and limited participation in global trade is a function of its traditional over-dependence on the export of low-value raw materials and commodities, and the import of high-value manufactured goods and services.

“The continent’s full potential will remain unfulfilled, unless we address the challenges of poor infrastructure, small and fragmented markets, underdeveloped production structures and inadequate economic diversification.”

Friday’s session brought together stakeholders from organised business, chief executive officers, academia, organised labour, government departments and civil society.

Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said the dialogue provides the province with an opportunity to build on its ambition to become a key trading region for Africa.

“That is why we seek your and the business sector’s inputs so that we can better understand how to make it easier for you do business across Africa. That is why this dialogue between provincial and national governments and the business sector on the subject of the AfCFTA is going to be so important,” said the MEC.

The AfCFTA which is expected to come into effect on 1 July 2020, was first conceptualised in January 2012 in Ethiopia. source:[/restrict]


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Mahindra Scorpio Double-Cab Pikup, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mahindra Scorpio Double-Cab Pikup

In a significant boost for the economy of Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta recently unveiled the first Mahindra bakkie (pick-up/van) to be assembled in the East African country.

Produced in the Associated Vehicle Assembly (AVA) plant situated in the port city of Mombasa, the Mahindra Scorpio is available in Single or Double Cab versions. AVA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Simba Corporation Limited.

In further encouragement to the…[restrict] young industry Kenyatta directed the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority to institute immediate actions aimed at reducing taxes for vehicles that are fully assembled locally.

“Further, to make locally assembled vehicles more affordable and available to Kenyans, I have also directed that the National Treasury and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives hold discussions with financial institutions to create special products for locally assembled vehicles,” the president said.

Commending the Simba Corporation Limited for selecting Kenya for the new assembly plant, Kenyatta said his government was prioritising the motor assembly and manufacturing industry in order for it to become an important source of employment and technology transfer.

“My Government is committed to working together with all players to enhance capacity of the motor industry. I am, in particular, pleased to note the progress we are making in the motor vehicle sector,” he said.

AVA currently assembles vehicles for several other manufacturers and produces 10,000 motor units annually.

Kenyatta congratulated Simba Corporation for the refurbishment of the Mombasa-based AVA to a level of globally endorsed centre of excellence with a capacity to assemble and supply to the East African region.

“This is important to us, as it will create more opportunities for our people through employment, facilitate growth of associated downstream industries and encourage even more investments, not only in this sector but in others as well,” the President said. source: Capital FM[/restrict]


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Arabian Gulf / Persian Gulf

The MENAS service craft Relume, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The MENAS service craft Relume

The board of the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN) has met in London and highlighted the issue of non-payment of navigational dues as critical to the ongoing modernisation and provision of aids to navigation in the Gulf region. This was reported from London on 13 March.

The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS, a subsidiary of IFAN) has been providing these services since 1911 as no state owns the aids to navigation in the joint waters of the Gulf. This service is funded exclusively by payment of navigation dues, and the sustainability of the existing service, on which the shipping industry depends, is totally dependent on receipt of these dues.

The board, which is made up of the senior executives of some of the world’s largest ship owners, confirmed that plans to recapitalise DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) services in the Gulf will be funded from these navigational dues from ship owners.

Alan Marsh, Chairman of IFAN, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Alan Marsh, Chairman of IFAN

Alan Marsh, newly elected Chairman of IFAN, said the Foundation and its sister organisation the MENAS, were committed to providing world class aids to navigation, including maritime safety broadcasts to seafarers in the region.

He stressed it was essential that users fully contributed to the running cost of the services provided by MENAS.

Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN, commented: “MENAS will continue to provide services but sadly ship owners may not even know that these are provided by MENAS and some question the need to pay Nav Dues whilst transiting these highly important and congested waters.

Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN

“Nav Dues are essential to ensure MENAS can continue to provide Aids to Navigation in the region while there is no alternative service provider or navigational system providing as accurate a service. All ships in the area share the benefit of these well-maintained nav aids.”

MENAS is currently the Gulf region’s leading innovator in the development, fabrication, supply and maintenance of aids to navigation. Operating from its main base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi, MENAS owns and maintains an extensive network of buoys, lighthouses and DGPS transmitters.

It also provides essential information and advice such as the issue of Notices to Mariners advising on hazards to shipping and co-ordinating additions to navigation charts for the Gulf.

Each month over 2,000 vessels rely upon MENAS equipment and services.

MENAS is an associate member of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) which has agreed to partner MENAS in the provision of training port authority personnel to the regions starting in the Third Quarter of this year.

Installation and maintenance by MENAS, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Installation and maintenance by MENAS


For over 100 years MENAS has played a major role in the safety of shipping in the Gulf and in the development of aids to navigation (AtoN) infrastructure throughout the Gulf States. Formerly named the Persian Gulf Lighting Service, it was established to be the responsible authority for aids to navigation in the region.

Aids to Navigation (AtoN)
MENAS owns and maintains an extensive network of navigation beacons, buoys and lighthouses across the Gulf and its approaches. It also provides maintenance services and quality management practices for AtoNs considered essential for international shipping and owned by governmental and port authorities throughout the Gulf.

Since 1997 MENAS established and continues to operate a free-to-air differential global positioning system (DGPS) for the region.

An upgraded service as well as complimentary terrestrial-based services are being developed, the latter still dependent on international protocols being developed and agreed.

The company has deployed Automatic Identification System (AIS) equipment across its equipment network to both enhance the service to mariners and improve performance monitoring of AtoNs: The MENAS Operations Centre in Bahrain records status, performance and reliability of AtoNs using the AIS system and satellite-based Vega Web monitoring.

MENAS is the Acting Sub-Area Co-ordinator for NAVAREA IX (the Arabian Gulf and its Approaches) co-ordinating a NAVTEX service within the framework of the WWNWS system established jointly by the IHO and IMO. NAVTEX is an international automated direct-printing service for promulgation of navigational and meteorological warnings and urgent information to ships. The system fulfils an integral role in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) developed by the IMO.

Notices to Mariners
Notices to Mariners provide essential, up to date information and advice to mariners navigating within the Gulf. Subjects include (but are not limited to) notification of works and events, which may impact on navigation of a permanent or semi-permanent nature. Each Notice specifies the original source of the information and refers to the British Admiralty Chart(s) affected by the Notice. MENAS also issues a monthly Summary of its Notices to Mariners, which ensures dissemination of information to all major hydrographic offices worldwide.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Portof Walvis Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) issued a memo earlier this year (28 January) to all ship captains, ship agents, shore skippers and skippers detailing the process to be followed before, as well as when a vessel arrives in port at Walvis Bay or Lüderitz.

This screening and clearing process will be carried out by Port Health. Port Health resides under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), and is…[restrict] not part of the Namibian Ports Authority.

Before a vessel arrives on Namibian shores the vessel agent is required to provide all background documentation to MoHSS about the last port of call, the number of passengers and the general conditions on board. Once the Port Health is satisfied with all the required documentation, a “free pratique” is issued which certifies the vessel is clear of any contagious diseases.

Upon receipt of the “free pratique”, the Port Captain will allow the vessel to enter the port and dock alongside the quay.

Strict screening measures are adhered to ensure the health and safety of passengers, crew on-board before disembarking the vessel and initial screenings occur upon boarding the vessel to start their journey.

Any passenger suspected to be infected with the coronavirus will be isolated on board, and if need be, evacuated as per Port Health (mandated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services) procedures. The vessel will in this case also be quarantined.

If any crew member presents a high temperature of more than 38 degrees and possible history of exposure, he/ she will be isolated in the hospital room on board of the ship. The secondary surveillance form will be completed for further details and this person will be attended to by the state doctor/nurse.

This person will be treated as a suspect case and will be placed under quarantine at the state quarantine facility where samples will be collected and send for analysis. This suspect case will only be released once the results are negative. Hence, the entire ship will be under quarantine for such period.

Notification of sickness on the ship

Any ship that calls to dock at both ports and reports in advance that there is a sick crew member on board will be treated as COVID-19 suspect and the following will apply:

1. Ship will be placed under quarantine outside port limits, yellow flag will be hoisted
2. Captain/ ships doctor will via (e-mail) submit a full report of the sick person containing the following information:
Name of crew member; Date and time of onset; Signs and symptom’s; Age; Nationality; Treatment history; Sick person to be isolated from other crew in ships hospital.
3. Port health officer will report the case to the emergency disaster management team for preparedness and response.
4. Doctor or nurse will go to the ship for assessment of sick crew member.
5. Doctor to arrange with disaster team to place sick person in quarantine facility at hospital.
6. If more cases develop the entire crew will be quarantined on-board ship.
7. The ship will remain under surveillance until declared free from disease.

It is important to highlight that the health clearance of all vessels entering our ports is the sole responsibility of the MoHSS, through the Port Health department. Namport is however ready to assist the MoHSS wherever possible.

Namport says that as an entity, it is closely working with the health authorities and will not put any staff members and clients at any risk as their safety remains Namport’s top priority at all times.[/restrict]


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Queen Mary 2 turning in Fremantle, 19 February 2020.   Source: YouTube
There are several puzzles over cruise ship visits to South Africa in the coming weeks, following the extraordinary announcements by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) – see story below – and South Africa’s President Ramaphosa on Sunday evening, all concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

One of these involves the Cunard flagship, QUEEN MARY 2, currently en route from Australia for Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. In one report received the iconic ship is said to have left Australia without embarking any passengers for this Indian Ocean leg of her world cruise.

We haven’t any confirmation of this but it opens to speculation the question whether she will continue her scheduled calls at Durban, a port that Queen Mary 2 has omitted for several years, and at Port Elizabeth, or proceed straight to Cape Town?

President Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday night announced a ban on all travel to South Africa by anyone from the so-called ‘high risk’ areas, which include the U.K. and the U.S.A. – that excludes many of the passengers likely to be onboard Queen Mary 2 (and a number of other scheduled cruise ships).

The president also said that two of South Africa’s eight ports will be closed to passenger ships – which ones? CORRECTION: The president’s announcement was to the effect that passengers and  crew changes would not take place at two of the ports, which we understand to be Saldanha and Mossel Bay [LATEST 11h35 – it is now confirmed that the two ports are Saldanha and Mossel Bay, but affecting only crew and passenger changes] .  In all other respects, the ports remain open and are continuing normal commerical business. * See below

Further details may be made available following a meeting with affected cabinet ministers and the media scheduled for later this morning (Monday 16 March).

A second ship en route to South Africa and making (as far as we are aware) a first ever call in South Africa by a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel, is NORWEGIAN SPIRIT. She left Dubai bound for Cape Town with calls in between, including at the Seychelles and at Port Louis in Mauritius.

An email received ‘From a passenger’ (we have the passenger’s details) on board reads: “We are aboard of NCL Spirit, from Dubai to Cape Town… None of the schedule ports received us, so we are going straight to Cape Town, arriving on March 22. It means 15 sea days straight. Supplies are limited.”

Of course some people would jump at the opportunity of 15 days at sea, non stop, but most, we suspect, would have enjoyed visiting the delightful places in between.

A last comment from the email goes “If our country allows this vsl call……….2020”

Dubai was one of the early areas outside China to be considered ‘high risk’, being an important transit centre for the airline industry with large numbers of people from all corners of the world passing through.

Finally, we have the MSC ORCHESTRA currently cruising in South African, Mozambican and Namibian waters. The president said in his address on Sunday night that all gatherings of more than a hundred people were prohibited. He mentioned churches and clubs that attract large numbers of people as if to show the seriousness of the matter. MSC Orchestra attracts up to more than 3,000 people twice a week for three and four days at a time. South Africans are also banned from travelling abroad. How will these cruises be affected or is this the end of the season?

LATEST:  MSC Cruises this morning issued the following: 

“We have received clarity from the various government stakeholders regarding port closures. The ports of Durban and Cape Town are open to cruise passengers and crew.

“In addition, we are seeking clarification on gatherings of 100 people or more being prohibited. However, we know that cinemas, shopping malls and airports are still open. This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health.

“As a result of the above clarifications the cruise season is continuing as planned. [end of statement, there is more on the MSC Cruises website]

At the end of April the ship heads back to the Mediterranean and her home base in Italy for the coming northern summer. Usually these positioning cruises have proved highly popular but will MSC now experience lots of cancellations, we wonder? Will passengers be able to disembark in Europe for that matter? Questions, questions and more questions. Watch this space.


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This remarkable photograph of three Harmony-class ships of Royal Caribbean meeting at sea off the Florida coast in 2016, will be unable to replicate easily in the next few months with cruise ships confined to port as the industry winds down in the face of the pandemic involving the coronavirus. Picture RCCL, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
This remarkable photograph of three Harmony-class ships of Royal Caribbean meeting at sea off the Florida coast in 2016, will be unable to replicate easily in the next few months with cruise ships confined to port as the industry winds down in the face of the pandemic involving the coronavirus. Picture RCCL

The cruise sector, already badly affected by the spread of the corona virus in Asian waters, has been left reeling from an outright ban by the United States of all cruise ship operations from US ports for the next month.

The United States is the centre of world cruising, with Americans forming the majority of passengers taking cruises and with many of the lines having their head offices in Miami, Florida.

The cancellation of cruising was announced by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) after consultations with US Health Authorities and the U.S. President Donald Trump last week.

“CLIA cruise line members are voluntarily and temporarily suspending operations from the U.S. as we work to address this public health crisis,” said Kelly Craighead, President and CEO, CLIA.

“This is an unprecedented situation. Our industry has taken responsibility for protecting public health for more than 50 years, working under the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and prides itself on its ability to deliver exceptional vacation experiences for guests, as well as meaningful employment opportunities for crew.”

He said this has been a challenging time, but they hope that the decision to stop cruising in the U.S. waters will enable a return to normal as soon as possible.

CLIA said the temporary suspension had taken effect at 12:00AM EDT on 14 March 2020 and that CLIA ocean-going cruise lines were focusing on the safe and smooth return of those currently at sea onboard ships that will be affected by the decision.

“We do not take this decision lightly, and we want the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms the commitment of this industry to putting people first,” said Adam Goldstein, CLIA Global Chairman.

“During this time, we will continue to work with the CDC and others to prepare for resumption of sailings when it is appropriate. We know the travel industry is a huge economic engine for the United States and when our ships once again sail, our industry will be a significant contributor to fueling the economic recovery.”

The cruise industry is a vital artery for the U.S. economy, supporting over 421,000 American jobs, with every 30 cruisers supporting one U.S. job, and annually contributes nearly $53 billion to the U.S. economy. Cruise activity supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a broad supply chain of industries that stretches across the United States.

The CLIA announcement had been preceded or followed by a number of cruise lines making similar personal announcements, including Royal Caribbean Cruises, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises. Similar announcements came from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the largest cruise company of them all, Carnival Corp.

Princess Cruises, whose ships have been at the centre of the drama in Japan and the US, said on Friday that it was suspending all cruises for all of its 18 ships for two months. Speaking on the company’s YouTube channel, Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “Never in those 55 years, and certainly not in the 20 years I have served in this company, have we been tested in ways we have been tested over the past 40 days.”

Adding to the woes of the sector, Canada has banned most cruise ships from calling at Canadian ports until at least 1 July. This could have a huge effect on the important Alaskan cruise season.

New Zealand has likewise banned cruise sips from calling at New Zealand ports

In Europe Costa Cruises is stopping cruises with calls in Italy, with Nick Palomba, Costa Cruises president saying this was the first time in 70 years of cruising that such an important measure has been taken. In Finland, Viking Line has temporarily stopped operations of its river ships and ocean liners around the world.

MSC Cruises has cancelled a range of cruises for March and April affecting some Mediterranean and European cruises, as well as cruises to Dubai. MSC ships cruising in U.S. waters will also be affected by the ban there for a period of 45 days until 30 April.

Locally in South Africa, MSC Cruises said cruises from Durban and Cape Town will continue as scheduled until the end of the cruise season in April or until notified otherwise.


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Al Messilah. Picture: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Al Messilah. Picture: Shipspotting

Live export horror as death ship to collect 70,000 sheep, says NSPCA

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) says it is horrified at the impending arrival of the AL MESSILAH (IMO 7924425) livestock carrier which is owned by the Kuwaiti company, Al Mawashi, and is set to dock at the East London Harbour this week to load a ‘consignment’ of approximately 70,000 sheep destined for the Middle East.

The NSPCA says it has obtained warrants for the feedlot and the harbour and ship and is sending a team to East London to monitor the loading and intervene when…[restrict] the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 is contravened.

Al Mawashi, with the Page Farming Trust, exported approximately 57,000 sheep in October 2019 using the controversial vessel Al Shuwaikh. It calls the Al Messilah an equally contentious vessel that boasts mass deaths and suffering in its long history of live animal export. Mechanical breakdowns while at sea, and detainments at ports have been reported about this specific ship, says the NSPCA.

“We are flabbergasted that Al Mawashi would send a ship with a similarly bad reputation to the Al Shuwaikh, essentially another rust bucket, to South Africa after the 2019 export outrage,” said Marcelle Meredith, the Executive Director of the NSPCA.

“Unlike the Al Shuwaikh vessel, the Al Messilah is completely enclosed – a metal box in essence, seemingly making it the perfect vessel to conduct a large amount of heat. It is reported that this heat mixed with 70,000 living and breathing animals is a perfect storm for heat exhaustion. Reportedly, this ship is notorious for lack of adequate space for sheep to be able to lie down or have adequate access to the feed and water troughs, even when “loosely” stocked.”

According to the NSPCA, heat is not the only concern relating to this practice. Animals are further compromised to the extent of, but not limited to:

  • Lack of appetite leading to exhaustion;
    High stocking density, which leads not only to physical discomfort and an inability to rest, but also to food and water restrictions;
    Pneumonia from multifactorial causes;
    Motion sickness;
    Change in lighting period and photoperiod resulting in stress and an impaired immune system;
    Physical trauma and injuries (trampling and injuries caused by rough seas);
    Exposure to noxious gases;
    Eye infections.

it says these concerns are well attested to in both literature and official documents.

Reportedly, more than 100,000 litres of urine and faeces accumulate on a typical live export ship every day sheep are on board and the ship won’t be ‘washed out’ until after they’ve disembarked. It is alleged that the weeks of untreated waste build-up mixed with high temperatures will create a lethal slurry of excrement making it dangerous for animals to lie down as they risk being buried alive. The ammonia from the excrement poisons the air, burns the eyes and throats of those on board, and often leads to respiratory infections.

The NSPCA says it attempted to engage with Al Mawashi in the best interests of these 70,000 sheep but could not reach an agreement – a basic request by the NSPCA was that their Veterinarian travel with the sheep to the Middle East and this was declined by Al Mawashi, this begs the question; what do they have to hide? This has left the NSPCA no option but to obtain warrants to ensure our Inspectors’ have access to the animals.

“Although the outcome in the High Court in February was unfavourable, we will not give up on these sheep. We will do our utmost to ensure that they are at least treated humanely while in our jurisdiction, while collecting evidence for further criminal charges and High Court action – we know that our supporters feel let down by the result of our High Court action, we feel the same way, we only hope that this will not deter our followers from continuing their support and trusting in the fact that we will not give up until we are finally triumphant in our mission – to end live export by sea” said Marcelle Meredith.

Al Messilah
Vessel type: Livestock Carrier
Gross tonnage: 38,988 tons
Summer DWT: 14,201 tons
Built: 1980
Flag: Kuwait[/restrict]


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 The EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission processes images

Victoria Falls: The EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission processes images, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA. Observing the Earth. Sentinel-2. Copernicus. Earth observation image of the week. ESA ©

One of the world’s greatest natural wonders

Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa Tunya or ‘the smoke that thunders,’ lies along the course of the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia to the north and Zimbabwe to the south. The Zambezi River flows for around 3500 km from its source on the Central African Plateau and empties into the Indian Ocean.

In this image, captured on 22 February 2019, the river cuts from left to right in the image before plunging over Victoria Falls – visible as…[restrict] a white line in the image. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls has a width of around 1700 metres and a height of over 100m which classifies it as the world’s largest sheet of falling water.

The spray from the falls normally rises to a height of over 400m and is sometimes visible from up to 40km away. The water from the Zambezi River then continues and enters a narrow, zigzagging series of gorges, visible in the bottom right of the image.

Despite recent reports of Victoria Falls drying up, the Zambezi River is subject to large seasonal fluctuations – with water levels rising and dropping dramatically throughout the year. According to the Zambezi River Authority, the lowest recorded water flows recorded were during the 1995—96 season, which had an annual mean flow of around 390 cubic metres per second, compared to the long-term mean annual flow of around 1100 cubic metres per second.

The town of Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, can be seen west of the falls, while the town of Livingstone – named after the famous Scottish explorer – is visible just north of the falls, in Zambia. The Harry Mwanga Nkumbula airport can be seen west of the town.

The circular shapes in the image are an example of an irrigation method called pivot irrigation or centre-pivot irrigation, where equipment rotates around a central pivot and crops are watered with sprinklers.

Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus programme. The mission’s frequent revisits over the same area and high spatial resolution allow changes in inland water bodies to be closely monitored.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

This image is also featured on the ESA Earth from Space video programme.


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IMO Headquarters building in London, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced this week that it would be closed to visitors at the IMO Headquarters in London, for two days on Thursday and Friday 12 – 13 March.

It referred to this as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 virus which followed the 11 March assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.

The IMO Secretary-General and the Organization’s Senior Management Committee were…[restrict] monitoring developments of the impact of COVID-19 at local and global levels and was following advice provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Government of the United Kingdom (as the host government) and actions taken by other UN agencies.

IMO staff are working from home where possible, the communique said.

“In addition, and taking into account the rapid increase of cases worldwide and the continuing difficulties for some delegates from IMO Member States travelling from abroad to attend IMO meetings, and the determination by the World Health Organization, on 11 March, that the outbreak is now pandemic, the following [other] meetings are now postponed:

* 7th meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, scheduled to take place from 23 to 27 March 2020;

* 33rd meeting of the E&T Group (IMSBC), scheduled to take place from 23 to 27 March 2020;

* 75th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), scheduled to take place from 30 March to 3 April 2020.

These postponements are in addition to those already announced on 6 March, specifically the postponement of:

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

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

The IMO Secretary-General will be consulting with Member States, and in particular Members of the Council, on these actions and any others (i.e. additional postponements) required in the interest of public health and safety.

For further information and guidance on coronavirus, please CLICK HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway



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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

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