Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 13 April 2020

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Paleisgracht. Picture: Trevor Jones
Paleisgracht. Picture: Trevor Jones

The smart lines of the Dutch-flagged heavylift general cargo ship, PALEISGRACHT (IMO9448346), as she enters the port of Durban recently. Built in 2011 Paleisgracht has a deadweight of 19,496 tons and is 168-metre long and 26m wide. She is owned and managed by Spliethoff’s Bevrachtings of Amsterdam. Picture by Trevor Jones



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ESC ship, featured in AfricaPORTS & SHIPS

Introduction to ESC

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) is a non-profit European organisation representing cargo owners i.e. freight transport interests of around 100,000 companies throughout Europe, whether manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers (import and export, intercontinental). Collectively they are referred to as ‘shippers’ as neutral users of transport (all modes: air; road, rail, waterborne).

ESC logo, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

ESC was established in 1963.

The global ESC network consists of national shippers’ associations, European commodity trade association (e.g. chemical, steel, paper) and corporate members among which well-known multinational brands (e.g. fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and food sector). ESC aims at creating a level playing field in Europe and between continents.

Global links

Internationally, the ESC works closely with the Asian Shippers’ Association (ASA) and the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI), together forming the Global Shippers Alliance (GSA), SEE HERE.

COVID-19 measures

Now CLICK on hyperlink to see ESC-COVID-19 MAP

This link delivers a map showing the countries of Europe. By hovering your mouse over them, you receive the full country name. With a click on the blue countries, a popup window provides more information about the measures in place.

For the grey countries, no relevant information is available although the ESC will attempt to keep the information updated and seek to add measures for more Member States.

More information as an Excel document can be downloaded via this link: CLICK HERE

Some non-European countries are covered, too, for example Algeria, China, Jordan, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal and Pakistan.

Collated by Paul Ridgway

ESC banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS



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Robben Island, with Table Mountain and Cape Town in the distance, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Robben Island and Murray Bay Harbour, with Table Mountain and Cape Town in the distance

It is well known that the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is called upon for a wide variety of rescues and missions, and not just those involving the sea. Now comes news of another unusual mission, of resupplying an island community with food and essential goods.

Marc de Vos, NSRI Table Bay station commander reports:

NSRI has assisted the Robben Island residents with a resupply of food and essentials during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Our NSRI Table Bay sea rescue duty phone was called on Tuesday, 7 April, with an appeal for assistance from the Robben Island residents who needed to arrange a resupply of food and essential goods that were running low.

The approximately 13 local residents on the Island, some with families, needed the resupply and the Island’s Health and Safety officer turned to NSRI for assistance considering that their normal supply chain is not operational [because of the lockdown].

The Island dwellers arranged friends and family on the mainland to shop at Pick n Pay and drop the orders off individually at our NSRI Table Bay sea rescue base at the predetermined time of 16h30 on Wednesday.

Taking all of the Covid-19 Department of Health precautions and following the health and safety standard protocols the sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom was prepared to be launched and the approximately 300 kilograms of food and essential goods were loaded onboard.

With great care taken not to break the eggs our sea rescue craft departed the Port of Table Bay at 17h30 arriving at Murray Bay harbour at 17h50.

On arrival at the Island the locals met us at Murray Bay harbour and their resupply was offloaded much to their delight and their express gratitude was conveyed.

After all of the supplies were delivered without incident we departed the Island and returned to base and the resupply operation completed at 18h48.


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Trevor Steenkamp's photographic capturing of Holland America's AMSTERDAM entering port in April 2013. The photo was taken from the Millennium Tower on the Bluff peninsular, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Trevor Steenkamp’s photographic capturing of Holland America’s AMSTERDAM entering port in April 2013. The photo was taken from the Millennium Tower on the Bluff peninsular

We have received the following update from Transnet National Ports Authority regarding the cruise vessel AMSTERDAM which has been at anchor outside Durban since Sunday. The vessel entered port earlier this morning (Thursday).

Other news is that VASCO DA GAMA is scheduled to call at Cape Town for bunkers and is due on Monday 13 April. Another cruise vessel due at the Mother City is NYK’s ASUKA II, due in Cape Town on 25 April. Asuka II is the former CRYSTAL HARMONY, which called here in South Africa with Crystal Cruises in the earlier years of this century.

The TNPA statement is as follows:

The MS Amsterdam passenger vessel is expected to dock in the Port of Durban on Thursday, 9 April [already in port] after receiving a clean bill of health from the Port Health unit of the Department of Health and security clearance from authorities including the South African Maritime Safety Authority, Department of Transport and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port of Durban.

MS Amsterdam arrived outside the Port of Durban on Sunday, 5 April to refuel and restock provisions. There are no passengers onboard, only 558 crew members, including five South Africans.

Prior to arrival the vessel’s master had reported there were persons onboard showing signs of flu-like illness. A doctor from Port Health boarded the ship at anchorage on Sunday to take swabs from symptomatic individuals and direct contacts. Results were received from the NICD on Wednesday confirming all tests were negative.

Five South African crew members will disembark from the liner, along with two other crew members who are ill although not with COVID-19.

MS Amsterdam was the last cruise vessel with a scheduled call to the Port of Durban this season. The ship had started a four-month global tour at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 4 January. Due to COVID-19 the cruise was ended prematurely in Fremantle, Australia on 22 March and the ship is now on its return to Fort Lauderdale.

It is standard procedure for the Department of Health’s Port Health unit to be required to grant free pratique (i.e. checking and confirming a clean bill of health for all onboard) before any vessel is allowed to dock. COVID-19 protocols in the ports include the need for all foreign vessels entering the ports to receive free pratique and for details of the last 10 ports of call to be recorded.

Flu-like symptoms reported by vessel masters are being investigated and tested accordingly to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

So far, the cruise vessels calling locally that have had confirmed COVID-19 cases have been the MSC Orchestra cruises of 28 February to 2 March, 13 to 16 March and 16 to 20 March, with four passengers in total testing positive and contact tracing now underway.

TNPA has been working closely with the Department of Transport, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Department of Health to manage requests from cruise liners after new Regulations were promulgated by the Minister of Transport on 18 March 2020 to guard against potential transmission.

These Regulations essentially prohibit cruise liner calls, any crew changes, any disembarkations apart from returning South African citizens or permanent residents, and any embarkations unless they are for departing foreign nationals. However, all parties have worked together to manage individual vessels on a case by case basis.

End of TNPA statement

NYK's cruise ship ASUKA II arriving in Cape Town on 2 April 2012, picture by Ian Shiffman. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
NYK’s cruise ship ASUKA II arriving in Cape Town on 2 April 2012, picture by Ian Shiffman. See report above


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Mozambique has stationed soldiers in Cabo Delgado to deal with the rising terrorist threat but the will-o'-the-wisp insurgents continue to strike at whatever target they want. The international oil companies have put on a brave face saying hey have confidence in the Mozambican authorities but unofficially they must be worried about their billions of dollars invested in gas production in this very area, reportedly the world's largest deposits. Featured in report in Afric PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mozambique has stationed soldiers in Cabo Delgado to deal with the rising terrorist threat but the will-o’-the-wisp insurgents continue to strike at whatever target they want. The international oil companies have put on a brave face expressing their confidence in the Mozambican authorities but unofficially they must be worried about the billions of dollars they have invested in gas production in this very area, reportedly the world’s largest deposits

Armed jihadist groups have continued their attacks on villages and towns in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, close to where several oil majors are establishing gas plants for offshore and onshore production.

The latest tactic being employed by these groups is not to kill innocent villagers but to target Christians and churches while advising local inhabitants to convert to Islam.

Previous attacks have been marked by the savagery and indiscriminate killing of armed soldiers and policemen and ordinary civilians with little distinction. These included the beheading of their victims.

On Monday this week (6 April) they carried out several attacks in the Quissanga and Muidumbe districts, where a Catholic church was burned down. No lives were taken.

Given the manner of the attack on Mocimboa da Praia recently, in which the military and police were targeted but civilians were told to convert, with threats of killing any remaining Christians, it appears there is a subtle change in tactics.

In a second attack on the following day the terrorists fired shots in the air to alert villagers of Muatide in the same district, with the local people fleeing into the bush. The terrorists then burned down several houses but took four people away with them.

Reports say that what must have been a second group attacked a village called Bilibiza, some 100km further south and a mere 50km from the port and town of Pemba which must now be considered to be under risk of attack.

There has been no official statement from the Mozambican authorities. Following the attacks on Mocimboa da Praia in late March the jihadists are reported to have placed a video on the internet in which they justify their attacks saying it is their intention to impose Islamic law in northern Mozambique and to introduce an Islamic State.

This is the first time that the armed group has ‘appeared in public’ by way of leaving a message of their intentions. They’ve now made it clear what they want in the oil and gas-rich northern Mozambique.


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Amsterdam arriving in Durban in April 2013. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Amsterdam arriving in Durban in April 2013. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp

The Holland America cruise ship AMSTERDAM remains at anchor in the Durban outer anchorage, after arriving off the port on Sunday. Meanwhile another three cruise ships are approaching the South African coast.

The delay in docking Amsterdam has not…[restrict] been made public. The ship carries no passengers and no South African are ion board and wanting to disembark. The vessel has arrived to collect stores and bunkers and is unlikely to remain on port for more than 24 hours, although given the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, it is anybody’s guess.

Three other cruise ships are heading this way from Australia, where each ship disembarked all passengers and are now heading to the United States.

The nearest ship, which is only a few days away, is SILVER WHISPER which is on a heading for Port Elizabeth where she will probably take bunkers offshore. The Silversea ship will be followed in a matter of several days by CMV’s VASCO DA GAMA and given that there is as yet no indication from the vessel, it could be assumed she will also call in Algoa Bay to load bunkers offshore.

Bringing up the rear is another Silversea vessel, SILVER SPIRIT, also likely to call at Port Elizabeth.

The port of Durban has been experiencing a shortage of bunkers but it is understood that this has now been alleviated with high sulphur and very low sulphur fuel again available.

The situation of ships in the respective South African ports at 17h00 yesterday (Wednesday 8 April 2020) was as follows. These numbers count for cargo vessels – service vessels, tugs, dredgers, work boats and fishing vessels are ignored. The figures are a guide and not definitive.

Ships In Port (ships outside)
Richards Bay: 9 (24)
Durban: 20 (34)
East London: 0 (0)
Ngqura: 1 (see below)
Port Elizabeth: 1 (15 with Ngqura)
Cape Town: 9 (8)
Saldanha: 2 (0)[/restrict]


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Port Elizabeth Car Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port Elizabeth Car Terminal

The Port Elizabeth Car Terminal (PECT) scored a impressive 96% in the Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft’s (VWAG) global quality audit, for export processes, housekeeping, security, vehicle handling as well as condition of storage.

The audit is held every five years at all sites where the German car manufacturer’s vehicles are handled.

According to the Eastern Cape Industrial & Business News, quoting Sindi Ndwalaza, Transnet Port Terminals’ Regional Corporate Affairs Manager, the…[restrict] audit is held every five years. She said PECT passed with flying colours. The rating is well recognised, she said, as it was issued by officials from a country that understands the automotive sector very well.

Ndwalaza praised the “rarely celebrated employees” who she said carry out their work with utmost commitment and pride “to a point where they elevate the country’s name internationally. In addition, the environment created by Transnet Port Terminals across its car terminals is one where fundamental controls are in place, hence the improved efficiencies.”

The VW plant is at Uitenhage, an industrial town about 35km north-west of Port Elizabeth. VW models manufactured here are the VW Polo and VW Polo Vivo models which have been exported to various markets including the European market for the past 14 years.

The automotive sector in South Africa accounts for over 14% to total exports overall, contributing 6.8% to the country’s gross domestic product and employing over 110,000 people. Vehicles are manufactured in Port Elizabeth (Uitenhage and Coega), East London, Durban and Pretoria, with exports and imports handled in Durban, Maputo, East London and Port Elizabeth.[/restrict]


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The Indian Navy frigate INS TEG F45 which participated in the IBSAMAR exercise held off the Cape of Good Hope in 2014. Picture: Louis Vosloo, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The Indian Navy frigate INS TEG F45 which participated in the IBSAMAR exercise held off the Cape of Good Hope in 2014. Picture: Louis Vosloo

Although President Cyril Ramaphosa had already made an announcement concerning the measures to be taken in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa, the decision was taken to continue with planning for the IBSAMAR VIII naval exercise scheduled to take place in South Africa in September this year. South Africa is the lead nation at this particular IBSAMAR naval exercise.

The decision was based on the participants in the planning having arrived in the country and everyone being present.

Exercise IBSAMAR is a multi-national and joint exercise held between India, Brazil and South Africa every second year. With ‘Combating Maritime Crime’ as the theme, IBSAMAR VIII is due to take place…[restrict] in Simon’s Town and the West Coast from 25 September to 2 October 2020.

The Main Planning Conference (MPC) took place in Simons Town from Monday 16 to Friday, 20 March 2020 with delegates representing the Brazilian, Indian and South African navies.

The planning conference was chaired by Brigadier General Gustav Lategan (Director Force Preparation) with Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) Musa Nkomonde as the appointed Exercise Director and Captain Charl Maritz the Combined Joint Task Group Commander.

The main purpose of the conference was to have deliberations and discussions on exercise objectives and table the serialised programme. The exercise will be broken down into the following phases:

Arrival of Brazilian and Indian Naval Vessels in False Bay: 20 September 2020
* Ships will come alongside in Simon’s Town: 21 September 2020
* Mobilisation and Final Planning Conference: 22-24 September 2020
* 1st Sea Phase in False Bay: 25-27 September 2020
* 2nd Sea Phase in West Coast Area: 28 September-1 October 2020
* Demobilisation: 2-5 October 2020.

Details of the Brazilian, Indian and South African Navy ships and aircraft to take part in IBSAMAR have yet to be confirmed.[/restrict]


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Snoek fishers, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Snoek fishers. Picture: YouTube

There has been some relief for fishers in the Northern and Western Cape who are now being allowed to travel within and across the respective provinces to catch snoek.

This was announced last Friday by the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy in reference to restrictions placed by the COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

“At all times, fishing teams must adhere to the prescribed…[restrict] hygiene provisions such as sanitising of hands, sanitising the inside of vehicles and equipment and restrictions on the number of passengers in vehicles must be observed at all times,” she said.

snoek fishing

However, in compliance with the existing regulations, Creecy said that accommodation will not be opened in fishing villages, meaning fisherman must only concentrate on fishing in areas where they can move in and out within a single day.

“We understand that this may not be convenient but we are trying to ensure that the snoek run, which is very important for household security in the Western and Northern Cape, people are able to benefit from it, while at the same time observing the regulations.

“Fishers must at all time carry their exemption notices and permits, issued to small scale and interim fishers, and fishers may not interact with local communities and may only operate within the harbours which are close to all members of the public,” Creecy explained.[/restrict]


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Above [2:08]

Above [1:04]
Another ship/crane accident took place this week Monday (6 April) at the South Korean port of Busan. Ocean Network Express (ONE)‘s 15,000-TEU ultra large container ship (ULCV) MILANO BRIDGE, under the escort of harbour tugs, moved down towards the quayside before swinging away, too late as the ship’s stern collided with the legs and frame of one of the ship-to-shore cranes.

Reports said that as the gantry crane collapsed it damaged two other STS cranes alongside, although this is not evident from the video footage.

If that wasn’t enough, the Milano Bridge also collided with a second ship, the 10,000-TEU SEASPAN GANGES.

Fortunately, and miraculously, no injuries have been reported.

The crash brought the crane down in pieces and leaving sections on the deck of the ship, demonstrating several things at once. Firstly just how fragile these STS cranes are as they tower above the quayside. This has been shown up in a number of similar incidents, including here in South Africa at Port Elizabeth. Under such circumstances the cranes are like top-heavy spindly toys.

Also brought home are the challenges of handling ships of this size within the confines of a working harbour, with equally giant spindly cranes having to be provided to service them.


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Greater Tortue Ahmeyim offshore Mauritania near the Senegal border. Picture: courtesy BP plc, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Greater Tortue Ahmeyim offshore Mauritania near the Senegal border. Picture: courtesy BP plc

BP Mauritania Investments has notified Gimi MS Corp, the subsidiary of Golar LNG Ltd, of a force majeure claim under the existing Lease and Operate Agreement.

This relates to the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim liquefied natural gas (LNG) project offshore Mauritania on the maritime border with Senegal. It is the deepest offshore project in Africa based on upstream gas production in 2km-deep waters.

The Notice from BP claims that due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) around the globe, BP is not able to be ready to receive the floating liquefied natural gas facility GIMI on the target connection date in 2022.

Computer depiction of the GIMI FLNG when completed. Picture: courtesy Golar, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Computer depiction of the GIMI FLNG when completed. Picture: courtesy Golar

BP estimates at this stage that the consequential delay caused by the claimed force majeure event is in the order of one year and that it is not currently possible to mitigate or shorten this delay. Golar has asked BP to clarify how a force majeure event discovered as recently as the end of March 2020 could immediately impact the schedule by an estimated one year.

Based on the information received Golar says it is engaging in clarification and an active dialogue with BP to establish the duration of the delay and the extent to which this has been caused by the claimed force majeure event.

However, says Golar, in anticipation of a potential delay, discussions have commenced with the main building contractor, Keppel Shipyard Limited, to re-schedule activities in order to reduce and reprofile its capital spending commitments for 2020 and 2021.

Golar is evaluating the Notice and says it reserves all of its rights under the Agreement


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Seafarers UK Appeal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.

This aid has been achieved by grants to organisations and projects across the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

In 2019 Seafarers UK awarded 53 grants totalling £2.2m to 43 maritime welfare charities.

Emergency appeal

On 3 April Seafarers UK made an open appeal on the world wide web to draw attention to the unprecedented times when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt all over the world with the seafaring community being no exception.

As an island nation, the UK is particularly dependent on its seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. As such, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.

As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping the nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions.

Seafarers abandoned

It is understood that there have been an increasing number of reports of crews being abandoned in foreign ports, without money or food, and unable to fly home.

Restrictions on crew changes and quarantine periods have separated many seafarers from their families for even longer, at what is already a distressing and unsettling time.

Port restrictions

Many ports now prevent shore-leave thus denying access to shore-based facilities, including welfare services, with crews being left unassisted on board and having to rely on charitable support or even local pity, it is reported.

This is leaving many seafarers feeling isolated, depressed, worried about their families back at home, and extremely anxious about when they can see their loved ones again. It has never been more important for seafarers to have somewhere to turn for support.

With thousands of seafarers working tirelessly at the forefront of supporting the nation through this crisis, Seafarers UK has appealed for help to enable the charity to support seafarers and their families during this global emergency.

How support helps key charity workers

Seafarers UK’s funding supports essential helplines such as Seafarers Advice & Information Line (SAIL*) to provide a free telephone service to merchant seafarers and fishers, and SeafarerHelp**, a 24/7 confidential and free helpline for seafarers of any nationality or religion and their families.

Port welfare services

Where possible Seafarers UK staff continue to provide vital support for seafarers stranded in ports and cruise terminals.

In the UK seafarers’ centres at Tilbury and DP World London Gateway London, managed by Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, are currently looking after 300 seafarers, who are not able to return home or join another ship.

How to donate

Donations may be made by CLICKING HERE



Reported by Paul Ridgway

The reading of this will hopefully encourage similar appeals, actions and responses in other parts particularly across Africa – Africa PORTS & SHIPS (AP&S)


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New ship loader at Grindrod's Matola coal terminal in Mozambique featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
New ship loader at Grindrod’s Matola coal terminal in Mozambique

Grindrod, the South African freight logistics service provider, has committed to supporting the governments of the countries in which it operates, and says it is working closely with customers, communities, suppliers and key stakeholders to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This is while addressing long term effects on business which has been impacted by the results of the outbreak.

In a statement issued on Monday (6 April), Grindrod revealed it has established a special task team to monitor the specific requirements and recommendations of governments and their health agencies.

“This team has…[restrict] developed comprehensive response plans, provides guidance and has implemented the necessary actions focused on ensuring the health and safety of our employees,” Grindrod said. “Regular engagement with our supply chain partners enables the businesses to respond to clarification from the regions on essential trade. Daily meetings with senior management ensure the co-ordination of these business-critical decisions.”

Impact and Performance

The majority of the Group’s businesses remained strong during the 1st quarter of 2020, with little impact on shipments of commodities to China and only marginal impact in the container business on inbound shipments from the East.

However, the lockdown in South Africa has impacted most of the businesses in South Africa and in Maputo as trade flows have either ceased or are severely restricted.

Grindrod expects the Group’s port and terminals business revenue to decline during April as a result of the lockdown in South Africa and closure of the border with Mozambique.

“The extent of the impact will depend on the duration of the closure of the South African mineral businesses and the flow of mineral cargo through the Mozambique border,” the company said in its statement. “Early indications reveal that the government may allow some dispensation for the mines to continue operating under strict conditions once they have secured the necessary approvals.

“This may mitigate the impact on our Port and Terminals.”


Grindrod says its container businesses are assisting with essential cargoes and containers with non-essential cargo are evacuated to depots for later delivery. “Container berths across the South African ports have been significantly reduced and therefore the businesses are operating well below optimal levels.”


The northern Mozambique business continues to provide essential logistics supplies to the Palma region. The carrier businesses have ceased operating with minimal requirement for fuel transportation.

North-South Corridor

The North-South Corridor is currently limited to essential cross-border traffic. The Rail business will consequently see a reduction in earnings, says Grindrod.

“Grindrod Bank, together with the banking industry, is playing a critical role with relief measures in response to the increase in customer requests for loan restructures or temporary relief.”

Grindrod says it is deploying its available cash on priorities and has identified non-essential cost items, with projects being deferred.

“The impact of lockdown on Grindrod’s liquidity outlook is assessed continuously. Offshore cash is being repatriated into South Africa and banks engaged to secure additional headroom in the event of a prolonged period of low revenue. Grindrod Bank has sufficient headroom on its liquidity cover and capital adequacy ratios, and these metrics are being monitored closely.”

Saying that Grindrod is organised in a manner to respond quickly to changes in the circumstances, “we look forward to emerging from this period stronger and with an emboldened commitment to enable trade corridors to restore the economy as expeditiously as possible.”[/restrict]


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Port of Berbera scene, Somaliland, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port of Berbera scene, Somaliland

The development and expansion of the Port of Berbera in the Gulf of Aden has breathed new life into the city and autonomous state of Somaliland. Likewise the planned construction of a paved roadway to the Ethiopian border and the planed construction of a multi-million Economic Free Zone for Berbera is also attracting economic interest.

That’s according to a report made on Dalson Radio, which said…[restrict] that in addition to these developments, the rebuilding of the Berbera airport and what is essentially a second large city for Somaliland has revitalised the region which could become one of the key economic hub points in the Horn of Africa region.

The key investor in the country and port, DP World, has invested an amount of US$442 million towards the expansion of the port and an adjacent economic free zone, which now has to compensate for DP World’s loss of the nearby Doraleh Container Port at Djibouti.

DP World’s CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said in 2017 when the key agreements were being signed between DP World and the Government of Somaliland, that the vision was to make Berbera a trading and transportation hub for the Horn of Africa. He drew comparisons with the growth of Dubai and Somaliland’s development path.

“Our goal is a prosperous Somaliland and we are on that path with the port construction, Berbera corridor and Berbera Airport which will be an international commercial airport,” said Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi. “The main objective with the Berbera Port is to achieve economic growth for our country and share it with the Horn of Africa region and the World,” he said.

The Port of Berbera has a naval background, having served as a naval base for the Soviet Russian Navy from 1972 and more recently it has been used by the US Navy, which however maintains a nearby military base at Djibouti.

The existing (old) port consists of a 650-metre long berth with a depth alongside of between -11.5 and -12 metres.

Although Somaliland has remained an autonomous country since 1991 when it declared independence from Somalia, it has yet to have official recognition by the international community. Somaliland does however maintain trade and political relations with Kenya, UK, Belgium, Turkey, Djibouti, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates. source: Dalson Radio[/restrict]


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Amsterdam entering Durban in April, 2013. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Amsterdam entering Durban in April, 2013. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp

The final ‘official’ cruise ship to call in a South African port (according to government statements), the Holland America ship AMSTERDAM, arrived off the port of Durban on Sunday and has gone to anchor outside, awaiting clearance to enter port.

Providing Port Health authorities are satisfied Amsterdam might be expected to enter port today (Tuesday).

Interestingly, there are three additional cruise ships heading towards South Africa and only days out. Last night the Silversea vessel SILVER WHISPER was south of Madagascar, while further back but on similar headings were CMV’s VASCO DA GAMA and another Silversea ship, SILVER SPIRIT.

Yet another cruise ship remains at anchor on laybye outside the port of Durban, this being MSC ORCHESTRA which had to cut short the 2019/2020 cruise season. This ship will probably remain here until there is some clarity over the virus situation in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean.

The fact of the matter is that with cruise ships proving highly unsuited during a virus pandemic such as we are experiencing, and all cruises cancelled, there are not many places where they are welcome.

Meanwhile, the number of cargo ships at anchor in the Durban outer anchorage is growing, with 37 counted at one stage on Monday, and another 16 ships inside the port working cargo. That number does not include the service vessels, dredgers, tugs etc.

With merchant ships entering port and others departing these numbers quickly alter but the above comments provide an indication of the situation at sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest port. Nevertheless, the volume of shipping is down, and is likely to remain so until the international pandemic crisis plays itself out.

Cape of Good Hope

CMA CGM Alexander von Humboldt at Europort in 2015. Picture: Hans Hoffman featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
CMA CGM Alexander von Humboldt at Europort in 2015. Picture: Hans Hoffman

It appears that sailing around the Cape Of Good Hope is back in favour among at least one shipping company, with French container line CMA CGM choosing this route instead of the shorter direction through the Suez Canal.

The 16,020-TEU CMA CGM ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT is currently heading south down the West coast of Africa from her last port of Algeciras and bound for Port Klang in Malaysia. The ship is deployed on CMA CGM’s FAL-1 service which until now made use of the canal route.

Coming towards the Cape in the other direction is CMA CGM CHILE bound for Le Havre in France, and demonstrating that CMA CGM appears to have elected the Cape route in both directions, which avoids having to pay the canal fees, estimated as being between US$400,00 and $500,000.

Going round the Cape adds a further 3,000 nautical miles to the voyage and an additional five days despite the Humboldt increasing her speed by two knots. The additional distance with speed adjustment is estimated to add about $200,000 to the fuel cost.

Several years ago, when several lines began making use of the Cape route when returning to South East Asia, the Suez Canal Company responded by introducing discounts of between 45-65 per cent for US East Coast ships and more recently the a 6 per cent discount for vessels from Europe.

Reasons for taking the longer round-Africa route are complex but with the topsy-turvy world of 2020, helping to delay delivery of a cargo can be considered an advantage. As congestion in the terminals looms and as nations remain in lockdown, keeping the cargo on board for another five days might also be seen as an advantage.

It won’t last however, nor will there be any benefit to Cape Town or South Africa as most of the ships will be too large to enter local ports – nor will there be any reason to.


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reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent

Paul Ridgway, Africa PORTS & SHIPS, London

NEW BOOKS reviewed by Paul Ridgway, London Correspondent

Two hardback titles have been received from Pen & Sword Archaeology of Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Although published in 2014 and 2015 respectively each is priced at £19.99 and remains available and can be ordered online via:

Early Ships and Seafaring: European Water Transport

By Seán McGrail, 192 pages ISBN 978 1 78159 392 9

Early Ships and Seafaring European Water Transport featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Professor Seán McGrail, former RN officer and Fleet Air Arm pilot, chief archaeologist at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and professor in that subject at Oxford and Southampton is an acknowledged expert in the study of the history of water transport.

He delves deep into the construction and use of boats and ships between the Stone Age, say 2.5 million years ago when an Early Man sat on a log to find it floated and carried him across water, to 1500AD with hulls that have been recovered, restored or replicated and are well-known to us today. The Hanse cogge of 1380 comes to mind preserved in the maritime museum in Bremerhaven.

This volume also covers the Mediterranean and Atlantic Europe and is supported by two chapters regarding concepts and techniques and a conclusion supported with a list for further reading and a valuable ten page glossary of boat building terms.

Here is provided a vade mecum to enable the reader to appreciate construction methods and tools as well as fastenings and the principles of naval architecture introducing the reader to flotation and stability, hull shape, sails and oars, pilotage and navigation.

Early Ships and Seafaring: European Water Transport introduces the reader to the theory and techniques used in the study of early boats as well as the evidence available such as archaeological, documentary, iconographic, experimental and ethnographic, and the natural, physical laws.

Early Ships and Seafaring: Water Transport Beyond Europe

By Seán McGrail, 220 pages ISBN 978 1 47382 559 8

Early Ships and Seafaring Water Transport Beyond Europe featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

In this volume Professor McGrail continues with his introduction to maritime archaeology and provides eight chapters introducing the indigenous craft of Egypt, Arabia, India, Australia, South East Asia, China, Oceania and the Americas. Each is provided with a map of the region and details its water transport and methods of propulsion, steering, seafaring, pilotage and navigation and migration routes where appropriate.

Particularly important are four maps showing (a) Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq the land of the two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates), (b) the Red Sea and Persian Gulf region, (c) South Asia and (d) the Indian Ocean, the latter shows characteristic tracks of the NE and SW monsoons.

Twenty-one pages are devoted to Arabia, that part of Asia that lies east of the Red Sea, west of India and south of the Caspian Sea.

Thirty pages are devoted to the craft of the waters of today’s Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as India and, as one would expect, boatbuilding of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The Tuticorin thoni, the Cuddalore kotia and Tamil vessels vattai, vallam and vattal, Madras’s masula, West Bengal’s patia and the nauka of Bangladesh are all introduced and more.


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Marion Island and the South African base camp. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Marion Island and the South African base camp. Picture: Wikipedia

The South African Government says that the 2020 Marion Island relief voyage is to go ahead.

Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs in the South African government, said that as a result of the lockdown, the department with key partners and special advisors, have decided that the voyage will proceed, but with a significantly reduced vessel crew and expedition component.

The relief voyage will depart in the…[restrict] last week of April, she announced.

The expedition will include an essential support team for logistics and maintenance. There will also be no field science activities during the relief.

“The department is facilitating quarantine and testing of all voyage participants, and this will include personnel from the Departments of Public Works, infrastructure, the South African Weather Services and the South African National Space Agency, as well as helicopter crews.

“This decision was not taken likely and should not be construed as a lack of priority assigned to scientific activities. However, we do believe that it is essential to return the existing expedition from Marion Island as soon as possible and put in place a team that will look after the base, until such time as we are able to return to full science activity on the island,” Creecy said.

She added that parties who will be participating in the voyage will be contacted directly, or through their respective focal point.

Map of Marion Island, Indian Ocean, feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS



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RFA Argus. illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
RFA Argus.     illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©

On 2 April RFA Argus (A135) set sail for the Caribbean in preparation to support British Overseas Territories during the forthcoming hurricane season and will be able to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic if required.

RFA Argus’ deployment to the Caribbean had been scheduled for the hurricane season, but she will now be able to play a part in ensuring the UK Government is ready to support the Overseas Territories.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary left Devonport with…[restrict] sailors and Royal Marines on board to assist the United Kingdom in its efforts to defeat the pandemic at home and overseas.

Minister of State for Defence Jeremy Quinn, responsible for the Overseas Territories, said: “The Armed Forces are taking decisive and coordinated action both at home and overseas to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have worked hard to ensure that RFA Argus is ready for the hurricane season in the Caribbean and now also able to support the UK’s Overseas Territories during the pandemic.

On 2 April, amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, RFA Argus set sail from HM Naval Base Devonport for the Caribbean to offer aid and support to British Overseas Territories during the hurricane season., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
On 2 April, amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, RFA Argus set sail from HM Naval Base Devonport for the Caribbean to offer aid and support to British Overseas Territories during the hurricane season

“The deployment of this ship is just one way the UK Government is supporting communities at home and overseas as together we face the biggest public health emergency in a generation.”

Argus is carrying aid from the Department for International Development and to to provide water and ration packs where needed. She is also equipped with materials to repair damage and clear blocked roads in support of local emergency services.

If required, a medical team could later join Argus in the Caribbean to support the UK Government’s response to Covid-19 in the Overseas Territories.

The RFA’s CO Captain Terence Barke commented: “RFA Argus’ ship’s company, consisting of both Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy personnel, will rise to this challenge. We understand that there are people in need in the UK Overseas Territories who require our support.”

Deploying on board RFA Argus are Royal Marines, Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary sailors and aviators from 815 Naval Air Squadron and 845 Naval Air Squadron.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

RFA Argus, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS



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Hamburg Süd's Santa Ursula, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hamburg Süd’s Santa Ursula

In a further SRX Service advisory, Ocean Network Express (ONE), a partner in the Europe-South Africa container service, has announced that, as a result of measures taken by the South African government against COVID-19, the container ship SANTA URSULA, voyage 201A, is omitting her Cape Town and Ngqura calls.

Ordinarily, Santa Ursula would complete her calls in…[restrict] northern Europe, proceeding south to call at Walvis Bay, Cape Town and Ngqura on her southbound voyage, before completing the voyage at Durban.

The ship would then return to northern Europe from Durban with a northbound call at Cape Town.

On this particular voyage Santa Ursula will omit Cape Town ad Ngqura southbound, sailing direct to Durban.

Cape Town cargo will be discharged on the second Cape Town call, northbound, which is scheduled for Monday 20 April 2020.

Cargo intended for Ngqura on the southbound voyage was discharged at Walvis Bay on 4 April and will be moved by feeder vessel to Ngqura.[/restrict]


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The two mobile cranes being discharged off the Happy Dragon at Port Elizabeth. Picture: TPT, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The two mobile cranes being discharged off the Happy Dragon at Port Elizabeth. Picture: TPT

The Port Elizabeth Container Terminal’s (PECT) equipment woes will lessen following the delivery from equipment manufacture Liebherr of two new mobile harbour cranes.

These were discharged from the heavylift vessel HAPPY DRAGON after a 20-day voyage from the manufacturer.

“Having lost an entire crane due to gale force winds really set us back,” says Transnet Port Terminal’s Acting Chief Executive, Michelle Phillips.

“The arrival of these two modern cranes will ensure that our promise to industry is realised.”

Phillips said that the cranes arrived at a critical time when the company’s terminals nationwide were prioritising the movement of much needed goods in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and abroad.

“We are at the start of the 2020 citrus season and we are very pleased that we are able to contribute positively towards the growth of this economy, especially during these challenging times,” she said.

The modern and highly efficient cranes have multi use capability, can lift up to 104 tons and move up and down the quayside according to berth activity – boasting an ability to handle new Panamax container and Cape size bulk vessels alike.

They are also designed for versatile and efficient cargo handling. “A simulator has been onsite for the past month with Liebherr providing training to our employees which was built in our purchase arrangement – and we are quite impressed with the skills employees are demonstrating,” Phillips said.

She added that both customers and employees had been looking forward to these two pieces of equipment, which arrived as semi knocked down units. “We look forward to the commissioning of these cranes and to an improved operation in the PECT.”

The mobile harbour cranes are part of Transnet Port Terminal’s R2 billion-equipment investment this year alone which TPT says is a response to industry calls for equipment that will improve performance across its operations.


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SA AMANDLA, AMSOL's emergency towing vessel (salvage tug). Picture courtesy: AMSOL
SA AMANDLA, AMSOL’s emergency towing vessel (salvage tug). Picture courtesy: AMSOL

Marine services, as an industry expected to operate 24 hours a day, are the critical link that keep things moving; ensuring that economies endure.

For South Africa marine services provider AMSOL, whether it is delivering fuel to ships, or goods and supplies to an offshore vessel, supporting the country’s fuel import supply or being ready to respond to a marine emergency at sea – a dedicated team of seafarers and specialist marine personnel are an important ingredient.

By remaining on duty at a time of national – in fact universal lockdown, it is these women and men who play a vital role in supporting the local and regional economy and continuing to provide essential services during the COVID-19 Lockdown period in South Africa and neighboring countries.

To support this call to action, the company has introduced risk mitigation measures at regional, national, and local operations to maximise personal safety and well-being. For many seafarers operating along the Southern African coast, this means confinement to their vessels to prevent contamination, with no crew changes or shore leave.

It is an extraordinary commitment that has not gone unrecognised.

The priority for the team at AMSOL during this time is employee health, virus transmission prevention and preparedness to support client operations and ensure effective marine emergency response capabilities, with access to specialist equipment and personnel. AMSOL remains open and contactable and is on call to respond 24/7/365, with key service providers and suppliers in support.

“AMSOL’s clients in the Energy, Ports and Maritime sectors are critical to keeping the economy moving during the Lockdown,” explains Chief Executive Officer of AMSOL, Paul Maclons.

“This means that our fleet and business remains operational, providing marine support services to our clients. I pay tribute to all employees across our company and in the various regions for their co-operation, support and assistance during this time – despite challenging circumstances and personal concern for families at home. It has reminded me that, above all, the strength of this company is its people; standing together – working as one.”

A donation to The Solidarity Response Fund was made on behalf of all AMSOL employees at the end of March to support virus prevention, treatment and awareness measures across South Africa.

Permanent employees of AMSOL are beneficiaries of the AMSOL Employee Trust, which owns 12% of the company. AMSOL Employee Trust trustees have also declared a dividend which will provide additional financial relief to beneficiaries and their families in the months to come.

Details of the Solidarity Response Fund can be seen at


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Namport contributes towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Sitting: Namport’s Acting Finance Executive: Mr Mervin van Wyk. Standing from LtoR: Namport’s HR Executive: Dr Felix Musukubili, Senior Nurse Manager: Ms Debbie Somaes, Acting Commercial Executive from Namport, Mr Elias Mwenyo, Dr Ntinda, Acting Senior Medical Officer at the Walvis Bay State Hospital, Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Kavin Harry of Namport, Dr Amir Shaker, Chief Medical Officer of the Erongo Region. Picture: supplied, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Namport contributes towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Sitting: Namport’s Acting Finance Executive: Mr Mervin van Wyk. Standing from LtoR: Namport’s HR Executive: Dr Felix Musukubili, Senior Nurse Manager: Ms Debbie Somaes, Acting Commercial Executive from Namport, Mr Elias Mwenyo, Dr Ntinda, Acting Senior Medical Officer at the Walvis Bay State Hospital, Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Kavin Harry of Namport, Dr Amir Shaker, Chief Medical Officer of the Erongo Region.    Picture: supplied

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has made a donation of 20 mobile toilets worth N$74,520 (R74,500) for use by the residents of the Twaloloka Informal Settlement in Kuisebmond during the 21 days period of lockdown across Namibia.

Announcing this, acting CEO Mr Kavin Harry said this was in response to the Namibian Government’s call on corporates and individuals to complement government initiatives, especially towards observing the set national guidelines and regulations for the 21 day lockdown period and to contribute towards alleviating the impact of the pandemic and the effect of the lockdown on the underprivileged members of society.

“We have thus taken heed of these calls by our…[restrict] national leadership, as well as the office of the Governor of Erongo Region, regional councilors, the mayor of Walvis Bay and health authorities to come forth and play our part towards addressing this pandemic.

“We are further honoured to donate medical equipment and supplies to the value of N$105,000 to the COVID -19 Isolation Facility at the Walvis Bay State Hospital. This includes machines, protective gear and cleaning materials,” he said.

The donations are being made through the Namport Social Investment Fund.
Harry said that Namport would continue to monitor the requirements throughout the progression of the pandemic and “within our means, do our best to continue to contribute towards the national efforts to combat COVID – 19 virus.”[/restrict]


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Three Queens together in 2014, as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria play ‘Happy Birthday’ to Queen Mary 2 – watch [0:56].

Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria play ‘Happy Birthday’ in ships whistles (foghorns) to Queen Mary 2 as she arrives in Southampton to celebrate her 10th birthday.

suggested by Paul Ridgway


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To reduce risks under COVID-19 emergency – Medevac’d 31

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale boat crew escorts the cruise ship Zaandam to Port Everglades on 2 April. The Coast Guard has been assisting in escorting cruise ships and cruise ship tenders in and out of the Ports of Miami and Everglades. US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Charly Hengen, US Coast Guard District 7, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale boat crew escorts the cruise ship Zaandam to Port Everglades on 2 April. The Coast Guard has been assisting in escorting cruise ships and cruise ship tenders in and out of the Ports of Miami and Everglades. US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Charly Hengen, US Coast Guard District 7

On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments, combined with one remaining disembarkation being coordinated, represents the processing of more than 120 vessels in the last three weeks to remove 250,000 passengers from cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was reported by USCG HQ Media service from Washington.

US Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with Department of Homeland Security partners Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as state and local entities from multiple port jurisdictions, facilitated the safe landing, screening, quarantine and repatriation of these passengers in a manner that has prevented further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many passengers were brought to safe harbour in the United States when international ports refused entry.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boat crew escorts the cruise ship Costa Favolosa cruise ship tender to shore on 30 March. The Coast Guard has been assisting in escorting cruise ships and cruise ship tenders in and out of the ports of Miami and Everglades. US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Charly Hengen, US Coast Guard District 7, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boat crew escorts the cruise ship Costa Favolosa cruise ship tender to shore on 30 March. The Coast Guard has been assisting in escorting cruise ships and cruise ship tenders in and out of the ports of Miami and Everglades. US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Charly Hengen, US Coast Guard District 7

Most of the cruise line industry announced a voluntarily suspension of cruise ship operations from US ports of call on 13 March and the CDC issued a “No Sail” Order on 14 March to all cruise ships that had not voluntarily suspended operations.

In the words of Vice-Admiral Dan Abel, Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations: “We commend the decision by the cruise industry to cease operations. However, pausing a global tourist industry does not happen instantaneously or easily.

“The Federal, state, local and industry cooperation to achieve this feat truly represents the whole-of-nation approach directed by the President and is essential to fighting the spread of this virus and working to minimise the loss of life.”

Drawdown of passenger operations is a major milestone, but it does not eliminate US Government concerns for cruise ships and their crews, it was reported.

At the time of the USCG statement (3 April) there were 114 cruise ships, carrying 93,000 crew members, either in or near US ports and waters. This includes 73 cruise ships, with 52,000 crew members, moored or anchored in US ports and anchorages. Another 41 cruise ships, with 41,000 crew members, are underway and still in the vicinity of the United States. The cruise industry has an ongoing obligation for the care, safety and welfare of their seafarers.

The Coast Guard is a lifesaving service, and since 7 March, when COVID-19 cases on cruise ships operating around the US escalated, the service has enabled 31 life-saving medevacs.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

EMS crew transport a Grand Princess passenger in her mid-70s from the Coast Guard Cutter Tern at Coast Guard Sector San Francisco on 7 March. The Cutter Tern was dispatched to transport a passenger with a medical condition not related to COVID-19 and her husband to awaiting EMS and CDC personnel Saturday morning. US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor Bacon, US Coast Guard District 11, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
EMS crew transport a Grand Princess passenger in her mid-70s from the Coast Guard Cutter Tern at Coast Guard Sector San Francisco on 7 March. The Cutter Tern was dispatched to transport a passenger with a medical condition not related to COVID-19 and her husband to awaiting EMS and CDC personnel Saturday morning. US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor Bacon, US Coast Guard District 11


All photographs reproduced by kind permission of the USCG ©.


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Statement on Coronavirus by UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi

UNCTAD statement on the coronoavrus pandemic, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

There is a series of related links to be found at the foot of this article*

“As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response.

“A call by the industry to all governments to keep maritime trade moving by allowing commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the rapid changeover of ships’ crews should not go unheeded.

“Around 80% 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, according to UNCTAD statistics.

This includes vital medical supplies, which are sorely needed at this time, and items that are necessary for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society cannot function.

“In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and to allow maritime trade and cross-border transport to continue.

“This means keeping the world’s ports open for ship calls and the movement of ships’ crews with as few obstacles as possible.

“Transit needs to be facilitated, too. Landlocked countries need access to food and medical supplies through neighbouring countries’ seaports.

“Shipping and ports hold the world economy together. They connect countries, markets, businesses and people, on a scale not otherwise possible.

“A vast array of goods and commodities are transported by sea to meet the demands of industrial and manufacturing sectors, energy needs, as well as business and consumer requirements.

“These range from raw materials such as coal and iron ore, oil, gas carried as bulk, to manufactured goods of intermediate and finished products carried in containers.

“Facing the current pandemic, cross-border movements of relief goods such as food and medical supplies will increase dramatically.

“Restrictions on trade and cross-border transport may interrupt needed aid and technical support. It could disrupt businesses and have negative social and economic effects on the affected countries.

“Governments should therefore continue to facilitate movement of not only relief goods, but goods in general, to minimise the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“To ensure that vital goods reach consumers and hospitals in destination countries, responsible agencies should coordinate and cooperate within and among countries so that indispensable goods reach the populations in coastal and landlocked countries alike.

“At the extraordinary G20 Leaders Summit on the COVID-19 pandemic, which meets virtually this week, world leaders should embrace the call made by the shipping industry to keep maritime trade moving by allowing continued access to ports worldwide and the rapid changeover of ships’ crews.”

Support seafarers and port operators, take measured steps

“Amidst the current outbreak, seafarers have come under increased checks and scrutiny in various ports.

“Many port states have imposed local regulations, travel and quarantine restrictions, precluding free access to seafarers. Some operators have suspended crew changes aboard ships to lessen their social interactions.

“While observing necessary health protocols, ports should treat seafarers as key workers and afford them the same flexibilities currently given to aircrew and health workers in boarding and leaving ships, as some 100,000 shipping crew members need to change shift every month.

“Port operators also need to be ready given the potential risks to public health and the economy, if their key role in the transit of goods is affected by the spread of the virus.

“Port workers are facing the danger of contracting COVID-19, and many ports are not ready if a critical mass of workers become sick.

“In several ports – especially in hard-hit regions like Europe – goods in transit are already affected, and essential medicine and equipment are being held up.

“Without functioning ports, cargoes including those with life-saving supplies cannot be transported to where they are needed.

“As they meet virtually this week (week commencing 22 March), G20 leaders have an important opportunity to protect the free movement of all goods by affirming the smooth functioning of their shipping, ports and transit industries.

“All available technological trade and transport facilitation solutions should be used to reduce the burden posed by COVID-19 on maritime and cross-border trade.

“We cannot afford to compound the health and economic challenge facing us.”

UNCTAD banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Readers may wish to be aware of the Related links:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) : News, Analysis and Resources

Review of Maritime Transport (Series)

Maritime Transport Statistics

Seafarer supply, quinquennial, 2015

Transport and Trade Facilitation Newsletter

Paul Ridgway, Africa PORTS & SHIPS, LondonCollated by Paul Ridgway


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Queen Mary 2 at her berth in Durban earlier this week. Long-range picture taken by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Queen Mary 2 at her berth in Durban earlier this week.   Long-range picture taken by Trevor Jones

In confirmation of our report and updates of last evening (Thursday) the following report from the station commander of the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) Durban Station 5, Jonathan Kellerman refers:

At 17h10, Thursday, 2 April, NSRI Port Elizabeth, NSRI East London and NSRI Durban were placed on alert following reports from MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) of a 58 year old British man requiring medical evacuation off the Queen Mary 2 following a medical emergency (not Covid19 related) with the patient suffering a medical condition.

A WC Government Health EMS duty doctor had spoken to the ships medical team and it was deemed necessary for a patient evacuation to a hospital as soon as possible.

At that stage the ship was approximately 20 nautical miles off-shore of Morgans Bay, on the Transkei coastline, and after investigating options MRCC re-routed the ship to head in a direction towards Durban and an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 ambulance services rescue paramedical team were activated to prepare for the rescue operation 216 nautical miles South West of Durban.

NSRI bases along the East Coast, NSRI Durban, NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Port Edward and NSRI East London were placed on high alert to be on stand-by during the helicopter patient evacuation operation.

At 19h00 the SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying 4 SAAF crew, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers and 3 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics departed Durban.

On arrival at the ship, at 21h36, in challenging conditions with 25 knot North Easterly winds gusting to 34 knots and 2 metre swells, an NSRI rescue swimmer and two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the Queen Mary 2 and they received the patient from the ships medical crew and the patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter, and he was airlifted, in a stable condition and in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, to a hospital in Durban, arriving at the hospital at 23h38, for further medical care.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, NSRI Durban Station 5 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Transnet Port Health Authorities and Transnet National Ports Authority assisted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the coordination, communication and logistics during the operation.

The operation completed at 00h04. source: NSRI Station 5, Durban


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PMAWCA banner logo for Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa has made it clear that West and Central African ports cannot shut down because of the coronavirus crisis and must therefore remain open with essential services. The association says that ports are critical infrastructures and…[restrict] necessary for the existence and survival of nations and are therefore vital to the population and economy.

Stating this in a communique and signed by the Secretary-General, Jean-Marie Koffi, the association sets out stringent health and safety measures to be implemented in all Western and Central Africa Ports in order to preserve workers’ health, limit the spread of the virus and avoid the prolongation of this public health crisis and its economic consequences.

The association called on port authorities to ensure that correct measures are effectively implemented by the various stakeholders who should provide all the necessary means to protect employees at the workplace.

The port authorities must also ensure Harbour Masters implement these new health, safety and security measures with immediate effect.

The restrictions and measures include:

1. Crew/passengers on board arriving vessels that have called at ports in mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea and Spain within the last 14 days shall remain on board the vessels during the vessel’s stay in port.

2. Crew/passengers arriving from countries other than mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea and Spain who wish to land ashore will be served with Stay Home Notice (SHN)

3. With effect from 31 March 2020, all ports should cease calls from all cruise vessels.

A new compulsory Maritime Declaration of Health form took effect from 20 March 2020.
For Shipping Community:

ISPS Restricted Areas must ensure:

1. Enforced social distancing for port workers;
2. Observing other health precautions for all port workers;
3. Enhanced access control with temperature taking checkpoints

Finally, all stakeholders should enable eligible staff to make use of telecommunications.[/restrict]


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

Naval News

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



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