Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 19 April 2020

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002
Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

Advertise here. This space above is available. For a Rate Card email us at


Come with us as we report through 2020



These news reports are updated on an ongoing basis. Check back regularly for the latest news as it develops – where necessary refresh your page at

Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return




News continues below


NYK Paula departing from Durban, March 2020. Picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

NYK Paula departing from Durban, March 2020. Picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
NYK Paula.    Pictures: Keith Betts

Sailing from Durban with a near complete cargo of containers is the self-geared NYK PAULA (IMO 9419632). The 2664-TEU ship was launched on 9 July 2009 at the STX Offshore & Shipbuilding yard in South Korea, as hull number S1276. The vessel has a deadweight of 34,532-dwt (27,051-gt) and a length of 210 metres with a width of 30m. Flagged in Panama, NYK Paula is managed by Tagashira Kaiun Co Ltd (ISM) and NYK Line (commercial manager), both of Japan. The ship is departing from Durban, with the top picture showing the port pilot helicopter hovering overhead.   Pictures are by Keith Betts



News continues below


Container ship Tommi Ritscher, featuring in an ongoing piracy attack off the port of Cotonou, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container ship Tommi Ritscher, featuring in an ongoing piracy attack off the port of Cotonou.  Picture by Brian Wayne Scott / Shipspotting

Dryad Global is reporting a boarding of the container ship TOMMI RITSCHER (IMO 9656137) at anchor 3-4km outside the port of Cotonou earlier today (Sunday 19 April).

The 255-metre long, 37m wide Portuguese-flagged ship is in position 6°16.8’N 002°31.8’E at Zone 3 of the Cotonou anchorage.

Dryad Global reports that the 58,252-dwt ship was approached by a speedboat with an unknown number of people on board. A number of these presumed to be pirated boarded the vessel while on board 11 crew members took refuge in the ship’s citadel.

A further eight crew did not enter the citadel and it is not known whether the eight are being held captive by the pirates on board.

A Portuguese naval ship responded to the speedboat approaching the ship, with the result that the pirate boat fled the scene, apparently leaving a number of the pirates on board.

It is also not clear whether the Portuguese naval ship intends boarding the container ship. There will be a further update once later news is received.

Tommi Ritscher is German-owned and managed by Transeste Schiffahrt GMBH of Jork Niederelbe, Germany.      source: Dryad Global


News continues below


Container and other port terminals to reopen, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container and other port terminals to reopen

In an announcement on Thursday evening, the government has relaxed some lockdown conditions across a range of working activities, among them port terminals and mines.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that while the national lockdown was being extended for another 21 days, certain working activities would be relaxed.

Referring to the ports she said that it was necessary to allow the handling of import and exports in order to ‘decongest’ the terminals.

The country’s export terminals, which were shutdown, now have the green light to start exporting goods. [We assume she also meant to include import goods as well. See next statement]

“Before that, we were saying that all goods that come from high-risk countries must be sanitised… We have now learnt that actually, if goods have been at sea for many days, the virus wouldn’t survive,” the minister said.

The relaxation at these terminals is a way of “decongesting” the ports, as the country prepares to ease the lockdown, said Dlamini-Zuma.

“When we do stop the lockdown, we can’t do it abruptly. We have to phase it in so that there’s an orderly move towards what would be normality,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

She, however, stressed that precautionary measures will remain beyond the lockdown to safeguard the health of the nation. “It doesn’t mean that after the lockdown, everything will go back to normal.”


Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said key among the sectors that will gradually return to operation is the mining sector.

“In the amendment we are identifying a risk particularly in deep mines. If they are left alone for a long time, the stability of the ground is tampered with, and secondly, gases accumulate or there will be prevalence of seismicity and rock falls.

“That’s why we are saying we must allow a situation of phasing in the recall of workers to work in those mines and deal with the ramping-up of productivity in those mines,” said Mantashe.

He said this will minimise the risk of accidents and disasters in mines, as production will be incremental and is estimated to continue well into the month of May.

He said collieries that supply power utility Eskom, are operational.

“Mining operations, excluding collieries that supply Eskom, shall be conducted at a reduced capacity of 50% during the period of the lockdown, and thereafter at increasing capacity as determined by the Cabinet member responsible for mineral resources and energy. We must maintain a risk-based approach,” said Mantashe.

The phased-in approach will take place under strict conditions.

These include screening and testing of returning miners. The industry is also expected to set up quarantine sites for miners and supply transport for returning miners.

Additions to essential services

Other sectors that will return to work include artisanal trade for emergency repair work, store and hardware vehicle repairs for people involved in essential services.

The call centres of retailers providing short-term insurance cover, information and communications technology (ICT) services rendered to entities and institutions will also return to work.

Additionally, call centres necessary to provide health, safety, social support, government and financial services, debt restructuring for consumers of retailers, and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income have been introduced as essential services.

Trades necessary for the rendering of emergency repair work, including plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, glaziers, roof repair work and emergency automobile repairs for persons rendering essential services and for public transport vehicles will be permitted to operate in terms of these regulations. source:


News continues below


Port statistics for the month of March 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 or wheeled vehicles.

The effects of the countrywide lockdown as it concerns the nation’s seaports has yet to be fully reflected in the port statistics for March and will begin to show more strongly with the statistics for the current month of April 2020. However, the number of containers handled during March reflects a sharp drop on the previous month whereas bulk exports remain strong. The full effects on both these items will begin the show with April statistics.

Total cargo handled for the month of March 2020 amounted to…


News continues below


Picture: Lusa, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

S&P Platts Analytics says the recent decision by US oil company ExxonMobil to delay the final investment decision (FID) on the Rovuma LNG project in northern Mozambique is a new setback for the southeast African country’s fledgling LNG industry and may delay the first export of natural gas from 2025 to 2030.

S&P Analyst Luke Cottell said the risk around investing in the project “is exaggerated by the fact there are no known capacity off-takers, with export capacity instead contracted to equity holders in line with their ownership stake.”

Earlier the US major said it would delay FID on Rovuma LNG while it worked with its partners to bring down costs. “A final investment decision for the Rovuma LNG project in Mozambique, expected later this year, has been delayed,” ExxonMobil said.

“Platts Analytics believes ExxonMobil will shelve this project until the economics are more favourable, with first production from the project not forecast until 2030,” said SP Platts’ Cottell.

Rovuma LNG is the biggest of three LNG projects under development in Mozambique and had been expected to begin operations in 2025, though that start date appears almost certain to be pushed back.

The two others are the Total-operated, 12.9 million mt/year capacity Mozambique LNG project — expected to start up in 2024 — and the Eni-operated, 3.4 million mt/year capacity floating Coral LNG project.

ExxonMobil is a partner at Coral and says that project development continued “as planned.” First LNG is expected in 2022.

Adding to the uncertainties are the threats rising from an increasing Islamist insurgency in the same region of the country.

In late March, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS on several occasions, militants have been active across the Cabo Delgado province and in late March attacked the town of Mocimboa da Praia, which is just 60 km from the site of the two high-profile LNG developments at Afungi.

Security and other analysts say the attacks pose significant problems and risks for the oil companies and the Mozambique security forces.

Mozambique contracted a group of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group – which is said to be close to Russian President Putin – to provide security measures against the insurgents but it soon became obvious the mercenaries were out of their depth and have since been withdrawn, after a number were killed in ambushes.

Latest reports suggest that a South African security group is now involved along with several aircraft. This has not been confirmed but then neither was the presence of the Russians.

Other factors making decisions to proceed with the LNG projects or delay matters are further complicated following the devastation caused by two cyclones that destroyed large swathes of the country, and ongoing reports of corruption scandals.

The state-owned ENH holds small stakes in all three projects and the Mozambique government is obviously anxious to minimise any delays with any of the three. In February Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario appointed a new chairman to the company, Estevao Tomas Rafael Pale, who was tasked to guarantee that the timetables were adhered to.

Pale’s predecessor, Omar Mitha was replaced after he warned of potential delays to the project. sources: S&P Platts, Lusa, AP&S


News continues below


Port of Walvis Bay and the Namdock ship repair floating docks, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Walvis Bay and the Namdock ship repair floating docks

Walvis Bay ship repair company, Namdock, has taken the lead for the West coast in providing a ballast water treatment system installation service at the Namibian port.

Having this service available ensures that offshore support and other vessels docking for repairs by Namdock are also able to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) requirements for ballast water management and treatment.

“We have led the ship repair market on the West coast of Africa in the installation of ballast water treatment systems since last year, when we obtained certification to install Bio Sea ballast water treatment systems on board our clients’ vessels,” said Claus Zeilinger, Assistant Technical Superintendent of Carpentry and Electrical at Namdock.

Namdock has since successfully installed two of these systems on one of its long-term clients’ offshore support vessels.

Zeilinger and the ballast water treatment panel
Zeilinger and the ballast water treatment panel

“We have also recently completed the complex installation of an ESMA ballast water treatment system in a heavy fuel tanker which docked in Walvis Bay. This was a major and very interesting project, which saw an inter-disciplinary team of fifty people working around the clock to pull off the project. This was successfully completed in just three weeks,” he adds.

The installation of ballast water treatment systems is part of Namdock’s integrated ship repair offering.

“We perform the full spectrum of ship repairs, from metal work and fabrication – which involves physical plate installations – to piping and electrical installation. Our integrated vessel repair disciplines, capabilities and functions therefore go hand-in-hand with the installation of ballast water treatment systems,” Zeilinger explains.

At this stage, Namdock undertakes work on the piping, valves and electrical installation of the ballast water treatment system. Their certified installation team commissions the system, and then trains the client’s staff on board the vessel in the operation thereof.

Internationally-compliant certification

Zeilinger said that Namdock installs systems which have been certified by the IMO for ballast water treatment on vessels in port. “Our task is to determine the best possible position for the system on the vessel in question, and ensure that it operates as it is intended to.”

Zeilinger and two of his team members completed training in the installation and commissioning of the Bio Sea system in France last year.

“One of the main benefits of this system is that it treats the ballast water through ultra-violet (UV) radiation. It is therefore completely safe to use, contains no harmful chemicals and the installation is simple. These factors make it one of the best systems to use worldwide,” he says.

Namdock has presented its recently-completed ballast water treatment system installations to maritime class surveyors, who verified that they were satisfied with the way in which the systems were operating. The installations were done on vessels which had docked at Port of Walvis Bay for their two or five year classification surveys.

‘Buoying up’ ballast water treatment

Vessels which take in seawater have until 2024 to comply with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Management Convention) which aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another by establishing standards and procedures for the management and control of ships’ ballast water and sediments, and stop damage to the sea and marine environment from ballast water discharge.

According to the rules of the Convention, all vessels in international waters are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a vessel-specific ballast water management plan.

“We are likely to see a growing number of vessels calling at the port and docking with Namdock for the installation of ballast water treatment systems as we move closer to the 2024 deadline,” says Zeilinger.[/restrict]


News continues below


TAZARA goods train operating between Dar es Salaam and Zambia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
TAZARA goods train operating between Dar es Salaam and Zambia

The Tanzanian government has allocated 10 billion Shillings (US$4,322,255) to the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) for the upkeep of the railway and its operation.

This was announced by the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Eng Isack Kamwelwe, who had just completed an inspection of two of the TAZARA locomotives in which new traction motors had been installed.

Kamwelwe said the money would…


News continues below

Durban Bay becomes pilot port

Port of Durban to pilot project aimed at preventing plastics from entering the port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban to pilot project aimed at preventing plastics from entering the port

WILDOCEANS, the marine conservation programme of the WILDTRUST, recently received a funding grant from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities (MARPLASTICCS) initiative to launch a project that aims to explore alternative ways to stop plastic from making its way into the marine environment while creating youth employment opportunities.

Although marine plastic pollution is a global problem, it demands regional and local solutions that are tailored to the different sources and pathways of plastic flows into the ocean. With its Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities initiative – a project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), IUCN has extended this programmatic approach to the Eastern and Southern Africa and Asia Pacific regions.

The Port of Durban in South Africa is a modern, well-equipped and highly industrialized port and one of the busiest in Africa. However, the port also acts as a trap for plastic waste, carried along the rivers and storm water canals that flow into the port.

This initiative which officially began in November 2019, will be piloted within the Durban Port and will build on the already established Blue Port and Adopt-a-River projects and allow WILDOCEANS to trial plastic stoppage techniques in the port through core interventions. These interventions include innovative waste trapping at five sites, where additional low-cost technology interventions will collect as much surface plastic waste as possible.

Speaking about the project, Siraj Paruk, Transnet National Ports Authority, responsible for the safe, effective and efficient economic functioning of the national port system said, “The project provides a great opportunity to mitigate the impact of anthropogenic activities within the catchment of the port and further contribute towards enhancing the resilience and ecological functioning of the estuarine system.

“This will take the Blue Port project to another level, unlocking new techniques to identify and stop plastic leakage, as well as encouraging youth employment and ultimately working towards restoring the Durban Port to a healthy functioning ecosystem. We have a lot to learn from the MARPLASTICCS initiative and hope that this is a partnership that leads to bigger projects in South Africa and the West Indian Ocean.”

Acknowledging the strategic partnership with WILDOCEANS, Peter Manyara, the MARPLASTICCs Project Coordinator for the Eastern and Southern Africa region added, “we very much look forward to the results of project which aims to strengthen local capacities and action to control plastic pollution. This project, implemented in parallel with similar actions in Kenya, Mozambique, Thailand and Vietnam will enable us derive important lessons on what works in reducing or avoiding plastic leakage at the local level, and also help us understand factors that help or hinder success or failure in implementing circular actions at a small scale. The lessons learnt will help inform other related leakage reduction initiatives in the Western Indian Ocean and elsewhere.”

Stormwater pollution enters the port through a number of drains leading from the city streets. These bring plastics, cardboards, and chemicals in increasing volume into the once pristine waters of the bay. Picture: Terry Hutson , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stormwater pollution enters the port through a number of drains leading from the city streets. These bring plastics, cardboards, and chemicals in increasing volume into the once pristine waters of the bay.  This picture by Terry Hutson

In partnership with Nedbank, DOW, Youth Employment Services (YES) and Grindrod Bank, the Blue Port project has expanded on the successes of the Blue Crew, increasing intensity through larger teams of 51 YES Blue Port placements working year-round within the Durban port.

“Through strong collaboration with TNPA, the low-cost technology and ease of scalability, this project makes for a good case-study that can be replicated in other ports, not only in South Africa but in other developing countries across the South West Indian Ocean region and globally, many of which exhibit the same degradation as a result of similar stresses placed on their sensitive ecosystems,” commented Kramer.

A cell phone application will also be developed to allow for engagement amongst stakeholders in the port.

This project already feeds into the existing Durban Bay Estuarine Management Plan (EMP) prepared by the National Department of Environmental Affairs in collaboration with Transnet National Ports Authority, KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, eThekwini Municipality, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and Marine & Estuarine Research (MER) as well as the Draft KZN Coastal Management Programme.

The objective of the EMP is to provide a new approach to management of the negative factors impacting the Durban port, including waste leakage, and provides a vehicle for cooperation, change and motivation for new appropriate solutions to these existing problems. For more details contact


News continues below


Banner of the Nigerian Shippers Council, flying in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), which may appear to be an industry-formed body but is actually an agency falling under Nigeria’s Ministry of Transportation, says it is concerned with the reduction in revenue accruing to the federal government because of restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to which, says the NSC, Nigeria’s cargo clearing processes are ‘primitive’ compared with other parts of the world where clearing of cargo is automated.

These sentiments were made by the NCS Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, while speaking to a television programme connected with the THISDAY newspaper group.

Bello pointed out that with…


News continues below


Port of Dar es Salaam, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Dar es Salaam

A decline on transit cargo arriving at the port of Dar es Salaam and destined for the landlocked countries neighbouring Tanzania is anticipated by the Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA).

That’s according to TATOA board member Rahim Dossa, who said that…


News continues below


Port of Beira, looking east. Picture: Anup Rampiar, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Beira, looking east.   Picture: Anup Rampiar

According to a report by Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, the port of Beira has experienced an increase in containerised cargo being handled at the port.

This is despite, or perhaps because of, the international crisis arising from the ongoing global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Radio Mozambique reported Jan de Vries, the Chief Executive of Cornelder Moçambique, which operates the Beira port, as saying the port will handle…


News continues below


King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam Saudi Arabia Picture: Twitter, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam, Saudi Arabia      Picture: Twitter

‏On 13 April Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and Saudi Global Ports (SGP) signed a new Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement for container terminals in the King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam over a virtual signing ceremony.

Under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region, (MAWANI) signed remotely the largest 30-year BOT Agreement in the Kingdom with (SGP) with investments exceeding SR 7 billion ($1.87 billion) to develop and operate container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam.

The remote Agreement signing with the participation of Eng Saleh Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Chairman of the Saudi Ports Authority; Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport of Singapore; Eng Saad bin Alkhalb, President of Saudi Ports Authority; and Eng Abdullah Al-Zamil, Chairman of Saudi Global Ports.

The BOT Agreement represents a major step toward achieving the strategic objectives and development plan of the Saudi Ports Authority by conceding some of its services in partnership with the Ministry of Transport and with the support of the National Center for Privatization.

The Agreement activates the MoUs signed in the presence of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, during the inauguration of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP).

To transform King Abdulaziz Port

Upon assuming the responsibility of managing both Container Terminals, SGP will embark on a development and modernisation program to transform King Abdulaziz Port into a mega container hub and increase the port’s capacity to an estimated annual handling capacity of 7.5 million TEU when the planned expansion works are fully completed. The total estimated investment of more than 7 billion Saudi Riyals, It will provide more than 4,000 job opportunities in the port and logistics sector, it is understood.

This proposed advance is a part of continuous developments carried out by MAWANI in the Saudi ports.

To double container handling capacity

It was reported that under this agreement there will be investment and development of key infrastructure such as berths and container handling equipment. This will more than double the existing container handling capacity of King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam. Investments will focus on environmentally friendly and technologically sophisticated systems, including the adoption of automation to develop a modern Saudi workforce.

“The continuous developments in Saudi ports come in line with the national efforts to achieve goals and pillars of our country’s ambitious vision to promote sustainable economic development and raise competitiveness,” commented Eng Saleh Al-Jasser.

To develop Saudi ports’ infrastructure

He also indicated the importance of this Agreement to raise the operational and logistical performance level and develop the infrastructure of Saudi ports, contributing to reaching regional leadership and international competition.

Al-Jasser explained the expected economic feasibility and impact of this new Agreement as it enhances logistics, raises the reliability of supply chains, supports local and international trade and contributes in raising the rank of the Kingdom at the logistics performance index to become among the 25 best countries around the world. This Agreement also attracts new investments to the national economy, support local content and national industries and increase the national exports and imports that contribute to creating promising investment opportunities.

Eng Saad Alkhalb, President of the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI), said the new BOT Agreement at King Abdulaziz Port is a continuation of the Agreements concluded by MAWANI last December to develop container terminals at Jeddah Islamic Port with investments exceeding SR 9 billion ($2.4 billion). He indicated that the total expected investments in Jeddah Islamic Port and King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam amount to approximately SR 17 billion ($4.5 billion).

Alkhalb said: “These new Agreements will contribute mainly to developing berths, increasing the capacity of container terminals in King Abdulaziz Port by more than 120%, and providing integrated solutions to operate container terminals. They achieve technological and information integration and automation of operating systems and set environmentally friendly operating practices, which contribute to strengthening their leading role in the global maritime traffic and supporting the import and export operations.”

‏ ‏King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam Saudi Arabia Picture: Flickr, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam ,  Saudi Arabia     Picture: Flickr

To strengthen relations with Singapore

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, valued this partnership as it strengthens the relations and cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Singapore. He also indicated that the Saudi ports are witnessing a qualitative shift in their systems and procedures by launching more advanced services in its ports along the western and eastern coasts.

Eng Abdullah Al-Zamil, Chairman of the Saudi Global Ports (SGP), reflected: “Today, we are proud to sign the largest single BOT Agreement in Kingdom to develop container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port. I appreciate this successful and ambitious partnership with the Saudi Ports Authority, which reflects our commitment to achieving aspirations of our wise leadership in the Ports and Maritime Transport Sector. Our company relies on innovation in its products by applying the best international standards in the field of port operation with the assistance of qualified national cadres.”

It is important to note that King Abdulaziz Port is the largest Saudi port on the Arabian Gulf coast. It is an integrated trade gateway linking the Kingdom with the world. It has 43 berths. It is 19 km². It has a capacity of 105 million tons. It is linked with Riyadh Dry Port by railway, which helps goods from all over the world enter the Eastern and Central Regions of the Kingdom.

The port provides comprehensive operational services. It has modern handling equipment that enables the port to handle various types of cargo. This capability includes: two advanced container terminals; one refrigerated cargo terminal; two general cargo terminals; two cement plants, one for exporting black cement and clinker and one for white cement; a bulk grain terminal; an iron ore handling terminal; a naval vessel construction area and a gas and oil platform.

The port contains a ship repair facility that includes two floating docks to accommodate ships up to 215 metres loa.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Tema's extended port, Terminal 3, operated by Meridian Port Services, featured by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tema’s extended port, Terminal 3, operated by Meridian Port Services

Ghana Maritime Authority says there has been no noticeable decrease in shipping arriving at Ghana’s ports since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is despite global fears of recession and shortages of food and other essential products and services.

According to Captain Emmanuel Ankamah, GMA’s Deputy Director: Ship Inspections & Marine Security, merchant cargo ships have continued calling at Ghana’s ports even though the country’s borders have been closed. Seaports however are,,,


News continues below

Authorities set pragmatic approach to support global supply chain

IMO Port State Control, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The port state control (PSC) regimes which carry out inspections onboard ships to monitor and enforce compliance with international regulations have highlighted their commitment to…


News continues below


The bulker Top Grace, which is detained in Richards Bay after the master and crew are alleged to have thrown two stowaways overboard while off the Zululand coast. Picture: James Spyker/Marine Traffic, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The bulker Top Grace, which is detained in Richards Bay after the master and crew are alleged to have thrown two stowaways overboard while off the Zululand coast. Picture: James Spyker/Marine Traffic

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it will take all possible steps necessary to prevent people abuse on board ships sailing on South Africa’s oceans. This includes taking such harsh punitive measures as necessary, as provided for in law.

The warning comes in the wake of an ongoing investigation being conducted jointly with other authorities, including the South African Police Services (SAPS), into an alleged throwing overboard of two people by the crew of a foreign cargo vessel visiting South Africa recently, after they were reportedly found on board without permission.

You can see that report by CLICKING HERE

In a statement in Pretoria on Monday, SAMSA said the two men, both of Tanzania origin – described as stowaways – were reportedly forcibly removed and thrown overboard from a Panama flagged bulk carrier named MV TOP GRACE. The incident reportedly occurred after the MV Top Grace had sailed off the port of Durban on 28 March 2020.

Once authorities got wind of the incident, the vessel was detained in Richards Bay and charges laid against the ship’s captain and six of its crew members. They have since appeared in court while official investigations are continuing, said SAMSA.

In the statement SAMSA says: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is working with the South African Police Services (SAPS) in the investigation of an incident on the 28th of March off the KZN Coast involving the MV Top Grace. The MV Top Grace is Panamanian flagged bulk carrier.

“The investigation follows allegations by two Tanzanian nationals that they were thrown overboard after illegally boarding the vessel while it was berthed at Durban harbour.

“It is alleged that the two stowaways had boarded the vessel ‘Top Grace’ which was berthed at Maydon Wharf in Durban on Monday 23th March 2020 by climbing up the mooring ropes and hid in the chain locker.

“When they were discovered hiding on the ship, after it had set sail, they alleged that they were thrown overboard with a make-shift raft, life jackets and some bottles of water. The Tanzanians claimed they spent two days at sea before washing out at Zinkwazi beach on the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

SAMSA logo featured and displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“The vessel is currently berthed at the Richards Bay harbour and is detained. Seven crew including the Ships Master, Chief Officer, Third Officer, Chief Engineer, First Engineer, Second Engineer and Bosun (senior crewman of the deck) were taken into Police Custody and charged with attempted murder before being released on bail. The crew were allowed to return to the vessel until their next court appearance.

“SAMSA has also conducted its own investigation and has shared such with the SAPS to assist with their ongoing investigation. SAMSA would like to warn vessels sailing through its territorial waters that any vessels found to have transgressed South Africa’s national laws, will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

“The South African Maritime Safety Authority will continue to monitor all vessels calling at South African Ports or sailing through its territorial waters to ensure that its mandate of protecting the marine environment from pollution and saving lives and property at sea. SAMSA implores all vessels and ship managers to act responsibly during this period of uncertainty.

“SAMSA would like to thank the South African Police Services, National Prosecuting Authority and all other parties involved, whose selfless action and dedication to protect South Africa’s coastline during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown period has shown the true spirit of Ubuntu.” source: SAMSA


News continues below


The port town of Pemba, not far from where Jihadist terrorists are staging murderous attacks on small villages, and now island in the Quirimba archipelago. Picture: Terry Hutson

Jihadist terrorists struck again at Mozambican targets in the past week, attacking Quirimba Island which lies off the coast roughly opposite the town of Quissanga.

The attack was on Friday and five people on the small island lost their lives due to the Islamic radicals.

According to the report in the independent newssheet Carta de Moçambique, which often leads with such news, the terrorists dressed as…

Map of the Quissanga district of northern Mozambique, showing the islands of Ibo and Quirimba, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map of the Quissanga district of northern Mozambique, showing the islands of Ibo and Quirimba


News continues below


Port of Dar es Salaam to remain open throughout COVID-19 crisis. Picture: TICTS, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Dar es Salaam to remain open throughout COVID-19 crisis. Picture: TICTS

Tanzania has decided to keep its borders open despite the COVID-19 crisis, after President John Magufuli said closing them would gravely hurt eight of Tanzania’s landlocked neighbours who depend on the Tanzanian ports, especially the Dar es Salaam port.

The president was speaking at a Good Friday church service…


News continues below


Stena Germanica at Kiel, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stena Germanica at Kiel.    Picture: Wikipedia

It has now been five years since the first methanol-powered ship, the Stena Lines’ ferry, STENA GERMANICA, was introduced to service.

Being the first ship to run on methanol as a marine fuel signified a major milestone in the continued shift towards a more sustainable future for commercial shipping in line with the industry’s decarbonisation efforts and a proud moment for Stena, Wärtsilä, and Methanex Corporation for their involvement in the project.

Stena Germanica was converted to be capable…


News continues below

The message: Keep European ports going

The illustration here is reproduced from the EU’s TEN-T network and shows the Core Network Corridors, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The illustration here is reproduced from the EU’s TEN-T network and shows the Core Network Corridors

Since the start of the COVID 19 crisis, Europe’s ports have been doing everything possible to ensure the continuity of their operations and thus the security of supply. European ports have activated contingency plans to ensure that ports remain fully operational during this crisis. More than ever, European ports have been demonstrating their role as essential and critical infrastructures playing a crucial role in the supply of necessary goods.

Priority and a recovery strategy

The first and most important priority of European ports is to help overcome the health crisis by ensuring the continuity of their operations and providing citizens, health services and businesses with the goods and materials they need.

However, European ports believe that the EU needs to decide on a recovery strategy on how to overcome the economic crisis Europe is facing. This was reported in a statement by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) on 10 April.

On their side, European port managing bodies are cooperating as best as they can with their stakeholders and customers to help them solve the challenges they will be facing in the forthcoming months.

North Sea Port indicated a decline in transhipment cargo in 2020 Q1 SEE HERE.

North Sea Port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
North Sea Port

Engines of growth

As engines of growth, European ports will play an important role in the recovery process. To ensure that ports keep going and can help revamp Europe’s economy in the aftermath of the crisis, ESPO proposes the following:

1.] European ports, their stakeholders and their customers must, when and where needed, be able to benefit from immediate relief measures developed at both the EU and national levels. This will help the port ecosystem to bridge the temporary lockdown and impact of some limited or non-functioning port stakeholders. This temporary support will enable European ports and related industries to catch up as swiftly as possible once the confinement measures are lifted. During past crises, ports have proven to be a very resilient sector, able to rebound rapidly. An important condition for such a recovery is to ensure the short term financial viability of the maritime industry and the most affected businesses in the port. All European ports should be considered for such measures, regardless of their TEN-T* status.

2.] European ports ask EU policy makers to strengthen the existing support and financial instruments for infrastructure projects in ports, in particular CEF**, and to reinforce investments to allow European ports to play their role in the decarbonisation of Europe’s economy. The current crisis shows the key and critical role of port infrastructure and well-functioning port operations in ensuring the supply of essential goods and material. This is only possible if European ports continue to invest, remain state-of-the-art and further improve their hinterland connectivity. Advancing planned CEF calls could also be a way of boosting investments in ports. Such support should be provided notwithstanding the governance and economic model of ports and should include their respective critical hinterland infrastructures (inland waterways, railways, pipelines, roads).

3.] Ongoing port and transport infrastructure projects which are delayed due to national lockdown measures (in particular the temporary stop of construction works) require flexibility on deadlines and should not fall under the use-it-lose-it principle. Guidance should be further developed and discussed with the relevant project managers involved in ongoing projects, taking away the current uncertainty in their planning.

4.] Ports with important passenger traffic and/or tourism-related activities (notably ferry connections but also cruise) suffer an even more significant drop in activity and must be given special consideration. The recovery of touristic and travel activities risks to take longer in view of the severe travel restrictions within and outside the European Union. Initiatives aiming at restoring the trust in the sustainability, health and safety of maritime passenger traffic and cruise should be developed.

Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO, commented: “In all European ports it is now really all hands on deck to remain operational and to fulfil their critical and essential role in the supply chain.

“The contingency plans are working well. I can say that European ports remain fully operational. It is now important to prepare for what comes after the crisis. The port ecosystem is facing serious economic impacts, but ports have proven in the past to be resilient.

“In order to catch up quickly once the health crisis is under control, and to play their role as engines of growth in Europe’s economic recovery, it is important that ports and the affected businesses in the port are supported when and where needed.

“The support must help in bridging this period of none or reduced economic activity. It is also important that port and transport infrastructure projects and investments can be pursued as planned and if possible even reinforced.”

* The Trans-European Transport Network. See HERE

** Connecting Europe Facility. CLICK HERE

Collated by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


by Nick Porée
NP&A Consultants Durban


Durban Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPSDurban Container Terminal

The ongoing 10-year wrangle between the Transnet Port operations and the road freight fraternity has not contributed to improving the efficiency of the Port of Durban.

The lack of concrete data and the failure to take a holistic view of the situation leaves the port operations people grappling with the problems within their own fence, dependent on some interest from head office for funds or provision of professional expertise to resolve the problems.The creation of the ‘A Check’ parking area has brought some relief to the traffic impasse on Bayhead road but has had minimal effect on the efficiency of the road transporters who still stand for an average of 6 hours for every box collected*.

At US$ 20 – $ 22 (R300) per hour the delay costs to transporters amounts to a staggering R2.2 bn per year.

To this must be added the shipping delay of approximately 2.4 days per call**. At a very conservative $12,000 per day this amounts to a further $23 million (R322 million per year). If a mooted $100 per box delay surcharge is added by the shipping lines this will aggravate the present high cost of using the port of Durban compared to other regional ports.

The cost of the delay in delivery of the cargoes into the inventory of the consignees amounts to a further R720 million per year***, bringing the total cost of the port inefficiencies to R 3.25 Bn per annum.

As this is presumably recovered from industry, the effect on the South African economy is serious enough to warrant more positive action from Trade, Industry and Treasury officials. It should change the perspective of those in high places on the urgency and the lack of serious attention to address the problems.

The recommendations of the Road Freight Strategy, approved by Cabinet, have yet to result in action, and the current Covid-19 pandemic is not helping, but there is urgent need for professional analysis of the problem, and the design of integrated solutions to improve the efficiency of the back of port landside operations.

Mooted plans to stage vehicles at various points amounts to simply kicking the can down the road instead of focusing on modernising the port handling system.

The primary problem is space and speed of handling for import boxes and there are potential solutions in international examples for both issues, and unused State-owned land within easy reach of the port.

The issue of port access is a secondary and longer-term requirement to equip the port to handle future industrial expansion but will require revision of current structures and integrated planning amongst the various levels of government.

The persistent inertia in resolving the long-standing problems around the port of Durban may be contrasted with our neighbouring countries where massive plans for port improvements to support industrial growth and employment are taking shape.

Investments in port infrastructure in the region include Walvis Bay ($4.2 bn); Maputo ($ 2.0 bn); Beira ($290 m); Lobito ($1.8bn); and Nacala (port and rail ($ 4.6bn). Matadi has a R2.5 bn BOT project for port, road and rail to Kinshasa and further afield; Berbera has Dubai Port World in a BOT upgrading of the port for $441 million.

It is of particular note that most of these developments are being expedited by holistic commercial contracts with professional port development and management companies, with well-defined, performance and profit-based budget commitments.

* TNPA and Durban Harbour Carriers Association
** Data: Linernet
*** NP&A Consultants Durban (www.Transportresearchafrica)

About NP&A

Nick Porée and Associates is an industry based, multi-disciplinary, economic and freight logistics consultancy in Durban, South Africa. NP&A provided freight transport performance and policy consultancy to SA government in the National Transport Master Plan, review of National Freight Logistics, Harrismith Hub, eThekwini Freight Logistics Study and the Road Freight Strategy approved by Cabinet in 2017. NP&A has consulted for SADC, COMESA and Tripartite on harmonisation of regional cross-border road freight and has performed many port, corridor, OSBP and trade studies throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Association with Linernet provides accurate performance data for evaluation of the Port of Durban delays and potential solutions. Current focus is on restructuring the multimodal freight transport system to create a framework for competitive efficiency to support economic recovery in South Africa.



News continues below


New straddle carriers arrived unassembled for the Cape Town Container Terminal and will have to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted before the manufacturer's own engineers can travel to Cape Town, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
New straddle carriers arrived unassembled for the Cape Town Container Terminal and will have to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted before the manufacturer’s own engineers can travel to Cape Town

It was good news for the Cape Town Container Terminal at the weekend after the arrival of four new latest generation straddle carriers, which will help mitigate the impact of windy weather on terminal operations.

“Complete stoppage of straddle carriers occurs when wind speeds reach 90km/h compared to 72km/h for RTGs,” explained TPT Acting General Manager: Engineering Maintenance Maisa Salman.

“Salman said Cape Town experiences…

An assembled and operational straddle carrier, this one at the Port of Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
An assembled and operational straddle carrier, this one at the Port of Durban



News continues below


HMS AUDACIOUS Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©

On 7 April the HMS Audacious, the fourth of the Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarines, entered her new home port, HM Naval Base Clyde. The new submarine and her 98-strong crew had sailed from BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, NW England.

Welcoming the vessel to her new home were members of the Submarine Flotilla – SUBFLOT – based at Clyde.

Commodore Jim Perks OBE, Head of the Submarine Service commented: “It is with great excitement that we welcome HMS Audacious to the Clyde, joining her three sister submarines.

“HMS Audacious represents an ever improving example of the world-leading Astute class submarine. She is right at the cutting-edge of technology, built here in the UK by our own people. She will provide the country with remarkable security at sea to protect our nation’s interests.”

Audacious will join sister-submarines HMSs Astute, Ambush and Artful which are already in service and operating from Faslane. A further three boats – named Anson, Agamemnon and Agincourt – are currently under construction at BAE in Barrow.

The Astute-class vessels are said to be among the most sophisticated submarines ever constructed for the Royal Navy.

Equipped with advanced sensors, the Astute-class carry both Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

The 7,400-tonne boats can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water.

HMS AUDACIOUS Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Officially named in December 2016, Audacious was launched in April 2017 and conducted her first dive in January 2018.

Commodore Perks continued: “I am extremely grateful to all of the teams and companies that have contributed to the grand task of building this exceptional submarine. I am especially proud of our submariners who have worked tirelessly to inject their heart and soul into HMS Audacious to ensure she delivers the very best for our nation.”

It is understood that Audacious’ crew will now embark on shore training before eventually undertaking the next period of sea trials.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Greg Mortimer. Picture: Sunstone Ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Greg Mortimer. Picture: Sunstone Ships

Remember the visit to Cape Town of the Chinese-built cruise ship with the Ulstein patented X-Bow design, named GREG MORTIMER? The expedition cruise ship was on her delivery voyage to Ushuaia in South America to take up a series of cruises in Antarctic waters.

You may see that article CLICK HERE together with a link to a report of a month earlier reporting on the ship’s progress at the Chinese yard.

The latest news from Greg Mortimer is that…


News continues below

The US helping keep them and us safe

Ensign Alan Cook, from Silverdale, Washington, takes a bearing with an alidade on the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) in the Arabian Sea on 20 March., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Ensign Alan Cook, from Silverdale, Washington, takes a bearing with an alidade on the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) in the Arabian Sea on 20 March.  US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tamara Vaughn/Released. USN © 

US Naval Forces Central Command is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the waters of the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea.

Here the US Naval Forces Central Command’s mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theatre security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

Ensign Alan Cook, from Silverdale, Washington (above), takes a bearing with an alidade on the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) in the Arabian Sea on 20 March.

Lassen is part of the Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group and is in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) transits the Arabian Gulf on 5 April. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tamara Vaughn/Released. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) transits the Arabian Gulf on 5 April.  US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anna E Van Nuys/Released. USN ©

USS Bataan is the flagship for the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

On 3 April the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked MEU, along with guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), conducted a routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf.

Two days before, the US Navy Expeditionary Landing Base ship USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3), assigned to US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT), had been conducting joint naval and air integration operations with US Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters assigned to US Army Central Command’s (USARCENT) Task Force Saber, throughout the month of March.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Boskalis cutter suction dredger, illustrating story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Boskalis cutter suction dredger

Boskalis has expanded its salvage presence in the US by acquiring Ardent Americas LLC, a leading player under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90) for the provision of marine emergency response services in the United States.

Under the…


News continues below


in partnership with – APO


More News at

News continues below


Request a Rate Card from


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.

News continues below


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.



“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
– William Shakespeare





For a Rate Card please contact us at

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to


Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.P O BOX 809, CAPE TOWN, 8000, SOUTH AFRICA



South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services will shortly be listed on this site. Please advise if you’d like your company to be included. To sign up for a free listing contact or register online