Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 27 April 2020

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Come with us as we report through 2020



Today is Freedom Day in South Africa, the next Newsletter appears tomorrow, Tuesday 28 April 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

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JONAS OLDENDORFF sailing from Durban Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
JONAS OLDENDORFF Picture: Trevor Jones

The bulk carrier JONAS OLDENDORFF (IMO 9852030) sails from Durban in this photograph, after working cargo in the port. Built in 2019 the 61,500-dwt ship sails under the flag of Portugal (Madeira). Jonas Oldendorff has a length of 199 metres and a width of 32m and has a maximum speed of 15.3 knots. Picture is by Trevor Jones



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Illustration of the workboats to be built by Veecraft for the Port of Cape Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Illustration of the workboats to be built by Veecraft for the Port of Cape Town

Veecraft Marine, a subsidiary of Paramount Maritime, has been awarded a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) tender to design and build two twin-screw, diesel powered workboats to go to service at the Port of Cape Town.

The workboats will spearhead harbour activities, including conventional escort, Light House Services (LHS) assistance and towing support for the port.

The 100% South African-developed, 19.5m (LOA) maritime vessels, manufactured with 60% local content, will feature a 7.25m beam, fixed-pitched propellers and twin rudders, offering a 15-ton bollard pull (short tons-force).

The vessels will assist in servicing small to medium-sized craft pilotage into the port, the towing of vessels, lashing up next to dead ships and undertaking conventional escort operations. The Port of Cape Town has a large number of local and foreign deepsea fishing vessel activities.

This additional capacity will have a direct and indirect impact cross-sector on industries operating within and around notably one of the most demanding trade routes in the world, serving as a critical component of the value chain of fishing companies in particular.

The entrance channels to the dry-docks at the Port of Cape Town have been historically, extremely confined, with workboats the only vessels capable of servicing the area. Over the course of the past few decades however, after years of service assisting up to 300+ foreign fishing vessels per annum, the existing vessels have suffered from fatigue, recurring breakdowns and thus require regular maintenance which can be costly to maintain.

In addition, the older vessels are causing increased air pollution due to outdated engine technology, compounded by potential oil leakages into the fragile ocean environment.

Recognised as an integral part of South Africa’s economy, the Port of Cape Town largely facilitates imports for regional consumption and exports of agricultural products, including the management of the largest amount of deciduous fruit and fish exports in the country.

This distinction has also led to the growth of world-class ship repair and maintenance services from the port, accommodating both the local and foreign fishing industries alongside recreational boating.

Stuart McVitty, Chief Executive Officer of Veecraft Marine, said it was a privilege to offer the latest available technologies in both manufacturing and deploying these next-generation workboats to the Port of Cape Town. These, he said “offer a dramatic reduction in cost of doing business, increased operational efficiencies, safer working conditions and a reduced carbon footprint in the process.

“These are turn-key solutions pertinent to South African geo-commerce and the responsible utilisation of our ‘Ocean Economy’, proudly in line with Veecraft’s nearly 20-year heritage.

We look forward to playing a continued role in the South African maritime supply chain, proudly an indigenous enterprise supporting this historic yet global marketplace.”

To see our initial report of this tender dated 23 September 2019 CLICK HERE


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Hapag-Lloyd MIAX service featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Container line Hapag-Lloyd is implementing blank sailings on its Middle East India Express (MIAX) service as a temporary result of lower trade demand.

The blank sailings will affect sailings in weeks 18, 20 and 22.

According to Hapag-Lloyd the…[restrict] weaker demand is a direct result of the current COVID-19 situation.

“For your cargo to South Africa and Nigeria please book on the next available MIAX sailing.”

MIAX operates on a rotation of Jebel Ali, Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Colombo, La Reunion, Durban, Cape Town, Tema, Lagos (Apapa & Tin Can), Cape Town, Durban, Jebel Ali.[/restrict]


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Mozambique military, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mozambique military and security

In a further escalation of the unrest in Cabo Delgado, the northern Mozambique province bordering Tanzania, police have reported that 52 local people were killed after refusing to join the terror group.

According to reports the massacre of the youths took place a fortnight ago in the Muidumbe district and closely followed a number of attacks on several towns and villages. During those earlier attacks there was a lull in the killing and it appeared as though the terror group or groups had gone on a…[restrict] ‘win over locals’ approach by handing out looted money and goods taken from banks and shops they had raided.

The terrorists indicated to locals, of whom a majority are muslims, that they were only interested in identifying christians who would be told to convert to Islam or face death.

Since then however the town of Quissanga was attacked as was the island of Quirimba which is close offshore and near to Ibo island – see that report HERE

The latest report of 52 young people being massacred when they wouldn’t join with the jihadists is among the highest single number of deaths recorded so far. More than 100,000 people in the province have been displaced and there are no signs that the Mozambique security forces are even near to gaining the upper hand in combatting this insurgency.

The news of this massacre comes on the heels of news that a South African-registered Gazelle helicopter was damaged in the air by terrorist fire and either landed and was subsequently destroyed, or crashed and burnt out. On Monday the Islamic State Amaq News Agency issued a video showing the burnt remains of the Gazelle, with part of an identification number clearly visible, surrounded by armed men and the black flag of the Islamic State.

The downed aircraft appears to be one owned by a South African company Aviator at Work and which is on charter or being flown by Dyck Advisory Group. The latter said the helicopter experienced mechanical fire and landed safely, with the crew setting off to find a mechanic. On return they found the Gazelle had been set on fire and was totally destroyed.

Local reports suggest the helicopter was damaged by ground fire and landed, after which the crew set it on fire to prevent the jihadists from gaining access to it. This all occurred either on 8 or 10 April, depending on whose story you believe.

In a report just to hand the Mozambican police on Wednesday denied having been involved in the abduction and likely murder of local journalist Ibraimo Mbaruco, who worked for a local radio station in the harbour town of Palma.

Mr Mbaruco was last seen leaving the radio station to return home on his motor bike. Shortly after he texted a message to his colleagues saying he was surrounded by soldiers. He has not been seen since and is presumed to have been murdered.

This claim is based on a report in Carta de Mocambique that an unnamed member of the Mozambican armed forces told the paper that Mbaruco had been shot dead by the military because of their belief he collaborated with the islamist insurgents.

On Wednesday a spokesman for the General Command of the Mozambican police, denied the story and said an investigation into the whereabouts of the journalist was underway. The spokesman, Orlando Mudumane, admitted that there were “sporadic excesses by some policemen who violated citizens rights”.

Mozambican authorities are known to be very sensitive to reports of the insurgency in the north, which has the possibility of destabilising the region and causing oil majors involved in gas production to withdraw. Sources: AIM, Cart de Mocambique, O Pais, AP&S[/restrict]


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APM Terminal at Onne, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
APM Terminal at Onne

A supply of vital health supplies funded by APM Terminals Nigeria has arrived by air in Nigeria to go into use with the country’s health service in combatting the coronavirus outbreak.

APM Terminals says that through other targeted activities in Nigeria, APMT has contributed around US$ 1 million to tackling the pandemic.

The supplies, made up of 10,000 test kits, 15 oxygen concentrators, and various types of personal protective equipment (PPE), IEHK/PEP kits and other vital health supplies, will support the Nigerian Government’s COVID-19 Response Plan and UNICEF’s work with children and families in the country.

The supplies will also support the Government of Nigeria, through the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in affected states across the country.

Earlier this month, APM Terminals made a contribution of $200,000 to UNDP for the procurement of 50 A30 ventilators and other needed medical equipment to be distributed to government hospitals across the country.

APM Terminals Nigeria has also funded the Government managed COVID-19 Fund to the tune of $500,000 to support this nation of 204 Million.

Awareness campaign among truck drivers

Working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, APM Terminals has run a well appreciated media campaign to raise awareness for COVID-19 and the precautions people need to take. The campaign is particularly relevant for port users, such as long distance truck drivers who pose a unique risk due to their accentuated potential to spread the disease.

APM Terminals Apapa also donated urgently needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Nigeria Port Authority to help in protecting their personnel, especially when they board vessels.

“Through targeting spend to ensure maximum value, APM Terminals has contributed a total of $1 Million to Nigeria’s efforts in fighting the pandemic in a period where we are at the onset of a severe global recession and keeping costs under control remains paramount,” said Mohammed A. Ahmed, Managing Director – APM Terminals Nigeria.

APM Terminals is Nigeria’s leading port terminal operator, with terminals at Apapa and Onne, and handles 66% of the country’s containerised volumes.


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The two batches of RTGs arriving, in 2018 (top) and 2020 respectively, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The two batches of RTGs arriving, in 2018 (top) and 2020 respectively, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The two batches of RTGs arriving, in 2018 (top) and 2020 respectively

Guinea’s Port of Conakry in West Africa has taken delivery of four new rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes. This brings to eight the number of RTGs available at the Conakry Terminal, a subsidiary of Bolloré Logistics.

Supplied by Konecranes, each of the RTGs has a lifting capacity of…[restrict] 40 tonnes and their arrival fulfills part of the plan to modernise the cargo handling activities at the terminal and port.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Conakry Terminal is pursuing its programme of investments and continues to modernise its port activities at the Autonomous Port of Conakry,” said Traoré Tahirou Barry, Conakry Terminal CEO.

“It is with considerable satisfaction that we are implementing the contractual commitments of Conakry Terminal. We now have eight gantry cranes. The new equipment will make our stevedoring operations even more seamless and improve service quality for our shipping company and consignee customers.”

The RTGS were specifically designed for container handling and came at a reported cost of US$ 7.3 million. The other four RTGs are of a similar type and went into service at Conakry Terminal in 2018.

Bolloré Logistics conducted civil engineering works at the terminal costing another $ 5.4 million and has recruited and trained a further 40 young Guineans. The terminal now employs about 500 local personnel.[/restrict]


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This rare promotional film presented by Periscope Film for Union-Castle’s RMS Transvaal Castle, dates to the 1960s, and shows the ship on its way to South Africa from Southampton. This long weekend enjoy 15 minutes of pure nostalgia!



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Indian Navy ship INS Sunayna escorting a local motorised dhow carrying WFP food aid to Somalia. The WFP frequently makes use of local shipping or land-based logistics to deliver food aid parcels to where it is neeeded. Picture: EU NAVFOR, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Indian Navy ship INS Sunayna escorting a local motorised dhow carrying WFP food aid to Somalia. The WFP frequently makes use of local shipping or land-based logistics to deliver food aid parcels to where it is neeeded. Picture: EU NAVFOR



Transcript as delivered of remarks by David Beasley, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director to yesterday’s virtual session of the UN Security Council on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Protecting Civilians Affected by Conflict-Induced Hunger

While not directly of maritime content, other than much of food aid is carried by ships at some point of their distribution, we republish this in the general interest and because of the great human significance of the statement.

NEW YORK – Forgive me for speaking bluntly, but I’d like to lay out for you very clearly what the world is facing at this very moment. At the same time while dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic.

In my conversations with world leaders over the past many months, before the Coronavirus even became an issue, I was saying that 2020 would be facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II for a number of reasons.

David Beasley, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
David Beasley, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director

Such as the wars in Syria and Yemen. The deepening crises in places like South Sudan and, as Jan Egeland will no doubt set out, Burkina Faso and the Central Sahel region. The desert locust swarms in Africa, as Director General Qu highlighted in his remarks. And more frequent natural disasters and changing weather patterns. The economic crisis in Lebanon affecting millions of Syrian refugees. DRC, Sudan, Ethiopia. And the list goes on. We’re already facing a perfect storm.

So today, with COVID-19, I want to stress that we are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the spectre of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.

This sounds truly shocking but let me give you the numbers: 821 million people go to bed hungry every night all over the world, chronically hungry, and as the new Global Report on Food Crisis published today shows, there are a further 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. That means 135 million people on earth are marching towards the brink of starvation. But now the World Food Programme analysis shows that, due to the Coronavirus, an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people.

On any given day now, WFP offers a lifeline to nearly 100 million people, up from about 80 million just a few years ago. This includes about 30 million people who literally depend on us to stay alive. If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period. This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19.

In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than one million people per country who are on the verge of starvation. In many places, this human suffering is the heavy price of conflict.

At WFP, we are proud that this Council made the historic decision to pass Resolution 2417 in May 2018. It was amazing to see the council come together. Now we have to live up to our pledge to protect the most vulnerable and act immediately to save lives.

But this is only in my opinion only the first part of the strategy needed to protect conflict-riven countries from a hunger pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.

This is why I am talking about a hunger pandemic. It is critical we come together as one united global community to defeat this disease, and protect the most vulnerable nations and communities from its potentially devastating effects.

Lockdowns and economic recession are expected to lead to a major loss of income among the working poor. Overseas remittances will also drop sharply – this will hurt countries such as Haiti, Nepal, and Somalia just a name a couple.

The loss of tourism receipts will damage countries such as Ethiopia, where it accounts for 47% of total exports. The collapsing oil prices in lower-income countries like South Sudan will have an impact significantly, where oil accounts for 98.8% of total exports. And, of course, when donor countries’ revenues are down, how much impact will this have on life saving foreign aid.

The economic and health impacts of COVID-19 are most worrisome for communities in countries across Africa as well as the Middle East, because the virus threatens further damage to the lives and livelihoods of people already put at risk by conflict.

WFP and our partners are going all-out to help them we’ll do everything we possibly can. For example, we know that children are particularly vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition, so we are prioritising assistance to them.

Right now, as you may now 1.6 billion children and young people are currently out of school due to lockdown closures. Nearly 370 million children are missing out on nutritious school meals – you can only imagine when children don’t get the nutrition they need their immunity goes down. Where nutritious school meals have been suspended by school closures, we are working to replace them with take-home rations, wherever possible.

As you know, WFP is the logistics backbone for the humanitarian world and even more so now for the global effort to beat this pandemic. We have delivered millions upon millions of personal protective equipment, testing kits and face masks to 78 countries on behalf of the World Health Organization. We are also running humanitarian air services to get frontline health professionals doctors nurses, and humanitarian staff into countries that need help, especially while passenger air industry is basically about shut down.

But we need to do so much more, and I urge this Council to lead the way. First and foremost, we need peace. As the Secretary-General recently said very clearly, a global ceasefire is essential.

Second, we need all parties involved in conflicts to give us swift and unimpeded humanitarian access to all vulnerable communities, so they can get the assistance to them that they need, regardless of who they are or where they are. We also need in a very general sense humanitarian goods and commercial trade to continue flowing across borders, because they are the lifeline of global food systems as well as the global economy. Supply chains have to keep moving if we are going to overcome this pandemic and get food from where it is produced to where it is needed. It also means resisting the temptation to introduce export bans or import subsidies, which can lead to price hikes and almost always backfire.

WFP is working hand in glove with governments to build and strengthen national safety nets. This is critical right now to ensure fair access to assistance and help maintain peace and prevent rising tensions among communities.

Third, we need coordinated action to support life-saving humanitarian assistance. For example, WFP is implementing plans to pre-position three months’ worth of food and cash to serve country operations identified as priorities. We are asking donors to accelerate the (US) $1.9 billion in funding that has already been pledged, so we can build stockpiles and create these life-saving buffers, and protect the most vulnerable from the effects of supply chain disruptions, commodity shortages, economic damage and lockdowns. You understand exactly what I’m talking about.

We are also requesting a further USD350 million to set up a network of logistics hubs and transport systems to keep humanitarian supply chains moving around the world. They will also provide field hospitals and medical evacuations to the frontline humanitarian and health workers, as needed and strategically.

Excellencies, two years ago the Security Council took a landmark step when it recognised, and condemned, the devastating human toll of conflict paid in poverty and hunger. Resolution 2417 also highlighted the need for early warning systems, and today I am here to raise that alarm.

There are no famines yet. But I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now – to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade – we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.

The actions we take will determine our success, or failure, in building sustainable food systems as the basis of stable and peaceful societies. The truth is, we do not have time on our side, so let’s act wisely – and let’s act fast. I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the COVID-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe. So Mr. President, thank you, thank you very much.

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow WFP on Twitter @wfp_media @WFPChief


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This is PIL's Kota Singa, introduced in 1967, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This is PIL’s Kota Singa, which introduced  the PIL service in 1967

South Africa and new ME services

On 21 April, in order to serve its customers better, PIL published enhancement in its South Africa weekly services that feature additional direct ports-of-call and improved schedule reliability, it was claimed.

It is understood that the PIL Asia South Africa (ASA) service will now feature additional port calls at Nansha on the westbound and Hong Kong on the eastbound revamped rotation thus:

Kaohsiung – Xiamen – Hong Kong – Nansha – Shekou – Singapore – Port Kelang – Durban – Cape Town – Port Kelang – Singapore – Hong Kong – Kaohsiung.

The first effective voyage was by Cosco Ashdod from the port of Kaohsiung (KHH) on 2 April 2020

The PIL Far East Africa Express (FAX) service will now feature additional port calls at Qingdao on the westbound and Shanghai on the eastbound services.

The revamped rotation is:

Qingdao – Shanghai – Ningbo – Singapore – Durban – Singapore – Shanghai – Qingdao.

The first effective voyage was by MOL Explorer from the port of Qingdao (TAO) on 31 March 2020

PIL's new Middle East service rotation, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PIL’s new Middle East service rotation – see below

New ME service

A month before, on 19 March PIL, announced a New Middle East service – China Straits Gulf (CSG) with effect from April 2019.

It is understood that this new service will provide an enhanced direct service between North/Central/South China and the Middle East, calling at Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi and Dammam.

Port rotation is:

Qingdao – Shanghai – Ningbo – Nansha – Singapore – Jebel Ali – Abu Dhabi – Dammam – Abu Dhabi – Port Kelang (West Port) – Qingdao.


Incorporated on the 16 March 1967, Pacific International Lines has its origins in a newly independent Singapore. Founded by Mr Chang Yun Chung and ten assembled shareholders, the company initially operated just two vessels – former Dutch ships, then re-named Kota Singa and Kota Naga (illustrated).

Within a decade, PIL would own and operate more than 60 tween deckers, multi-purpose semi-containers, breakbulk vessels and livestock carriers.

In the late 1960s, PIL’s expansion took its vessels to China, the Arabian Gulf and East Africa. Between the late 1980s and mid-90s, PIL made the transition from the predominantly breakbulk, into a largely containerised shipping operation.

PIL's Kota Naga which was also introduced into the PIL service in 1967. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PIL’s Kota Naga which was one of two ships to introduce the PIL service in 1967.

Current operations

PIL currently operates Container Liner Services covering the whole of the Far East to: the Indian sub-continent, Red Sea/Gulf, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America.

Feeder services cover ports in: South East Asia, the Bay of Bengal, the East Coast of India, East and West African Coast, Middle East / Red Sea and the Pacific Islands.

PIL currently also offers a direct link for project and break bulk shipment through its Multi-Purpose Service from the Far East to Africa and Asia.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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ONE container vessel, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In a South Africa Terminal and Vessel Update, Japanese container company Ocean Network Express (ONE) advises that TPT Terminal operations is continuing to work well with the structure that has evolved during the countrywide lockdown.

Durban Pier 2 container terminal has moved to a 4-berth operation with effect from yesterday, 22nd April, but ONE says…[restrict] that initially it looks like similar numbers of gangs. (see Table below)

Berth times of all vessels appear to be reducing due to lower numbers of moves for exports at this stage and this is impacting positively on reducing waiting times. ONE says it will continue to monitor this closely.

As at Sunday 19 April the following applied:

TERMINAL Berths in use Gangs
Cape Town Container Terminal 2 4-6
Cape Town Multipurpose Terminal 1 2
Ngqura Container Terminal 1 4
Port Elizabeth Container Terminal 1 3
Durban Pier 1 Container Terminal 1 5
Durban Pier 2 Container Terminal 3  (4) 10 (?)
Durban Multi-Purpose Terminal 1 2

Note – There can be variables to gang use dependent on specific vessel stowage.[/restrict]


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Port of Douala container terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Douala container terminal

The Autonomous Port of Douala has revealed its thinking with regard future development of Cameroon’s main port and as one of the principal gateways to the Central African region.

The port authority says that by 2050 the port, which is built on the Wouri river some 50 km from the open sea, will have been transformed into a “pole [port?] of excellence in the middle of the Gulf of Guinea.”

The port will have…[restrict] much increased capacities and the Cameroon Government will be expected to provide support in carrying out the redevelopment.

Port authorities however gave no indication of the amount of financial support it expects from government or the anticipated overall cost of the project.

On the practical side, a new outer harbour will be built off the island of Manoka, near Douala and about 35 minutes from the small fishing harbour of Youpwé.

The importance of Douala lies not only with its relevance for Cameroon but as a gateway port into the interior serving the neighbouring states of Chad and Central African Republic.

The port has a total of 18 berths each of around 150 metres. There are seven specialised terminals backed with 15 warehouses and an open area of 65 hectares. The port enjoys the services of rail connections with 25 km of rail track as well as 20 km of asphalt roads.

Cargo throughput volumes in 2019 at the Autonomous Port of Douala are reported as an estimated 15 million tonnes. In 2016 the port was reported to have handled 12 million tonnes of cargo. In 2018 the port handled 11.616 mt of cargo, of which .5 mt comprised imports and 3.086 mt exports. In that year the port received 3,306 ships of all types of which 1,059 were international long-distance shipping, with the balance of 2,247 being coastal and cabotage shipping.

Douala’s container terminal had a capacity of 262,000 TEU annually.

The project of expanding the port of Douala will kick off in 2030, the port authority said, involving the expansion, renewal and renovation of facilities and infrastructure.[/restrict]


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– IMO Kitack Lim to Seafarers

IMO Headquarters in London, UK featured in an article in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The IMO Secretary General’s message to seafarers

“You are not alone. You are not forgotten.” So said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in a moving personal message to seafarers everywhere, assuring them that IMO understands the unique problems they face during the coronavirus pandemic and has been working tirelessly at all levels to find solutions for them. This was published this week.

Hundreds of ship sailings have been cancelled as trade has been reduced in line with the slowing global economy and ports all over the world have either closed or drastically cut their operations.

But restrictions on travel and personal movement adopted by most countries have left many seafarers stranded on board ships, unable to disembark or be replaced by relief crews. Others find themselves stuck in hotels, without pay and unable to get flights home.

Estimates suggest that, every month, 100,000 seafarers finish their contracts and would normally be flown home – but the coronavirus has had a huge negative impact on this repatriation process.

Since the start of the global lockdown, IMO has been in urgent contact with trade unions, seafarer welfare organizations, ship owners, governments and fellow U N agencies, especially the ILO, to try and find solutions.

"You are not alone" - Mr Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
“You are not alone” – Mr Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General

Mr Lim said he had been: “deeply touched by the many stories we have heard from individual seafarers of the challenges, hardships and sacrifices that seafarers have made to keep the global supply chain moving while helping the global population.”

He noted the difficulties the maritime industry has faced in conducting crew changeovers, providing medical care for sick and injured crew and allowing for shore leave, and added: “the inability to resupply or repatriate crews concerns me greatly.”

Describing seafarers as being in the front line of the global fight against the pandemic, Mr Lim said: “All of us at IMO understand the challenges you face.”

He added: “To all seafarers, my message to you is strong and clear: We are listening. We hear you.”

Secretary-General Lim has written to all IMO Member States, urging them to recognise all seafarers as key workers, remove any barriers to their documentation and lift national travel restrictions so that they can get home on conclusion of their contracts, and rejoin their families. And, wherever possible, IMO staff have been working round the clock to help bring individual cases to a speedy resolution.

The Secretary-General’s message is to be found by: CLICKING HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway

IMO Theme featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


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Port of Kribi in Cameroon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Kribi container terminal in Cameroon

Port statistics made available show a general increase of 17% in cargo handled during 2019 at Cameroon’s deepwater port of Kribi.

The port, which was only commissioned in March 2018, handled a total of…[restrict] 8.5 million tonnes of cargo during 2019.

This reflected a 17% increase on the seven million tonnes handled the previous year taking into account that the port was open for 10 months only in 2018.

The Port Authority of Kribi (PAK) says that customs revenues also increased in 2019, from XAF9.7 billion in 2018, to XAF24 billion in 2019.

As a result of these performances, the new port is now the second customs revenue collection centre in Cameroon after the Port of Douala.

However, the PAK cautions that results during 2020 may not prove so stellar, as a result of the effect of the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen Cameroon’s borders closed thus slowing economic activity in the country. source: Business in Cameroon[/restrict]


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A wooden Arab dhow of the sort intercepted off the Mozambique coast and in Pemba Bay. Picture: Social Media, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A wooden Arab dhow of the type intercepted off the Mozambique coast and in Pemba Bay. Picture: Social Media

The Mozambique Portuguese-language online news Carta de Moçambique reports that a large part of a consignment of heroin seized from a dhow being sailed by Pakistani drug traffickers, has disappeared from police custody and sold in the town of Pemba and other places.

In late December last year Mozambique defence and security forces intercepted a dhow being sailed by a group of 13 Pakistani citizens, aged between 30 and 75. When the drug smugglers saw they were being pursued they attempted to flee but ran their vessel aground on a sandbank in Pemba Bay.

The authorities involved with the arrest were the Mozambique Navy and the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC), acting in a joint operation.

Packets of smuggled heroin captured at sea, picture Social Media featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Packets of smuggled heroin captured at sea.  Picture Social Media

On board the dhow the security forces discovered more than 430 kgs of heroin, packed in plastic bags and bowls. It is believed the drugs originated in Afghanistan. It is generally known that the African east coast into northern Mozambique is one of the routes used by drug traffickers, with the drugs coming ashore on the Cabo Delgado coast and being taken overland into other parts of Africa, including South Africa.

A week prior to this another dhow was intercepted in the seas off Cabo Delgado, this time crewed by 15 Iranians and carrying an estimated 1.5 tons of heroin. When the Iranians realised the authorities were approaching they set fire to their vessel and its cargo, before jumping into the sea. Three of the men appeared to have drowned but the other 12 were rescued and arrested.

According to reports given to Carta de Moçambique the Iranians have not cooperated with the authorities, and with little other evidence they are likely to simply face deportation.

But now, in a twist to this tale, it transpires that about 100 kg of the heroin, all that remains, has had to be moved from the warehouse in Pemba where it was being held as evidence in the trial of the 13 Pakistani traffickers. According to a source the rest has been sold on the black market in Pemba and elsewhere by certain policemen.

Heroin seized in Pemba. Picture social media, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Heroin seized in Pemba

It apparently required a team sent to Pemba from Maputo before what remains of the evidence could be removed from harm’s way and secured elsewhere, pending the trial. The disappearance of the drugs left the Director-General of the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC), Domingos Jofane, “with his nerves on edge”, it was reported.

The matter provides further evidence of the Mozambique Channel being used as a conduit to South Africa for the smuggling of narcotics and possibly people smuggling (in both directions). With the SA Navy providing an intermittent naval patrol of this region – in the early stages of Operation Copper Pemba was used as a ‘forward base’ from which the Navy and SA Air Force operated – one wonders if sufficient attention is given to preventing this sort of traffic.

The lack of any information from the Navy or the SANDF doesn’t help either. Perhaps regular interceptions have been made, but if so the navy should take a leaf from the pages of the multi-national Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 or the Europe-backed EU NAVFOR with regard to communicating, which has frequently been record in these pages.


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Restrictions on Movements Don’t Apply

Tema's new Terminal 3 Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tema’s new Terminal 3 Container Terminal

Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority (GPHA) has appealed to cargo owners to clear all goods from the country’s harbours, saying that cargo movements are exempted from the current restrictions placed on the movement of people throughout Ghana.

The restrictions of movements by people is a result of measures taken by the Ghana Government to limit the spread of the coronavirus. However, according to GPHA the clearing…[restrict] of goods from the ports are exempt.

Esther Gyebi Donkor, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at GPHA says the port wants all types of cargo to be cleared.

“We have not limited any of the cargo types. The protocols we have put in place have tried to reduce the number of people that come to the port at the same time to clear cargoes. But every type of cargo is being cleared at the Port,” she advised.

She described the idea of keeping the ports open and not congested as essential the ensure the nation’s economic survival.

Cargo owners were advised to liaise with freight forwarders and truckers to clear their goods from the port, she said.

She appealed to the cargo owners to allow their agents to enter the port with the truck drivers to clear their cargoes “unless it is very critical for the importers to be present.”

“Government needs revenue so those who have goods at the port should come and pay so that government can get the revenue. Revenue is nose diving and it is a serious issue so please be patriotic and come and clear your goods,” the Tema Sector Commander of Customs, Joseph Adu-Kyei said.

COVID-19 Permits

The importance of continuing the COVID-19 Permit system has been emphasised as this aims at reducing the number of port users being in the port at the same time.

Tema Sector Commander of Customs, Joseph Adu-Kyei said that contrary to speculations, his department is flexible in issuing passes to freight forwarders, importers and drivers who have legitimate business to do in the port during this period of restricted access.

He said the timespan of the new COVID-19 passes have been made indefinite.

“If you have goods to clear at the port, come to our office and we shall issue you with a pass which has no timeline,” he said.[/restrict]


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Throughout the Supply Chain to Move Global Trade Online

DP World banner, flying on Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

DP World has launched cutting-edge online logistics tools and services, covering sea, land and air shipping around the world. The connected ecosystem of platforms will enable freight forwarders and any business, to book shipments of cargo from and to anywhere in the world, by any combination of sea, land and air.

According to the statement, the initiative represents a major step forward in digitising the management of logistics to increase the efficiency, visibility and the resilience of global supply chains. DP World says it has…[restrict] accelerated the already planned roll-out of the platforms to help companies meet the challenge of the Covid-19 crisis and keep trade flowing including vital food and medical supplies.

The initiative follows DP World’s acquisition of, a digital platform that enables customers to transport cargo worldwide at the click of a mouse, along with and

"Digitising trade will help companies do more business, more efficiently. It will also support the global imperative to keep trade moving during the current crisis to help meet the demand of world markets," - Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, featured i9n Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
“Digitising trade will help companies do more business, more efficiently. It will also support the global imperative to keep trade moving during the current crisis to help meet the demand of world markets,” – Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World

DP World has also created the Digital Freight Alliance which is an online association that brings freight forwarders globally onto one platform, giving them access to new tools, routes and services, and enabling them to do more business anytime anywhere.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that we must do all we can to make supply chains stronger to keep trade flowing, even in times of unprecedented challenges for the world,” says DP World Chief Operating Officer for Logistics and Technology, Mike Bhaskaran.

He said DP World’s vision is to digitalise supply chains leveraging DP World’s worldwide infrastructure of ports, terminals, economics zones and other assets.

“Our new platforms are moving the management of moving cargo online. It will enable our customers to be more efficient and increase the visibility and predictability of supply chains,” he said, adding that this will help them to grow their businesses, and ultimately keep countries supplied with the vital goods they need in the crisis.

DP World says its growing global network of ports, terminals and economic zones is the bedrock of the business with more than 150 operations in over 50 countries. The digital trade and logistics platforms will leverage this vast network of real-world infrastructure to offer end-to-end supply chain services.

“We believe that our new platforms, including the Digital Freight Alliance, will contribute to opening new commercial opportunities for our customers, even during the sudden economic downturn,” says Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World.

“This technology is a direct business enabler. Digitising trade will help companies do more business, more efficiently. It will also support the global imperative to keep trade moving during the current crisis to help meet the demand of world markets.”[/restrict]


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Port of Tin Can on Tin Can Island, Lagos, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Tin Can on Tin Can Island, Lagos

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has issued instructions that terminal operators at Nigerian ports must extend the suspension of demurrage fees for the additional 14-day lockdown period ordered by the Federal Government.

The government’s stay at home instruction…[restrict] was given as a measure aimed at helping curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“The NPA has directed all Terminal operators to extend the suspension of all applicable terminal storage fees on consignments (demurrage) for another fourteen days effective 13 April 2020,” said General Manager, Corporate Communication and Strategy of NPA, Jatto Adams in a statement.

He said the responsibility had been imposed on the NPA to relieve the burden on its customers while also attaining the objective of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business Policy.

Compensation to terminal operators, he said, has already been indicated in its letter of 8 April to the operators.

“The authority will not tolerate any form of non-compliance with the directive and will not hesitate to apply the appropriate sanctions. The NPA thanks all stakeholders for their cooperation”, he said.[/restrict]


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The ultra-violet light technology used to kill the invasive species found in ships’ ballast water tanks can be used to protect seafarers, health workers and first-responders from picking up the coronavirus from surfaces.

That’s the word from the France-based company behind the BIO-SEA ballast water treatment, that a surface disinfection system will be ready for market introduction by the end of May.

A prototype scanner based around BIO-UV Group’s proven UV-C reactor technology is currently being independently verified.

The 50cm handheld device emits a ray of UV-C which is passed over the surface, taking only seconds to disinfect the scanned area. The scanner can be used to kill the coronavirus from sickbay/hospital beds, tables, computer keyboards, furniture and all other surfaces.

Wet Surfaces

In parallel, BIO-UV Group subsidiary TRIOGEN is currently working on the development of a disinfection system for wet surfaces using ozone.

Bio-UV Group founder and CEO, Benoit Gillmann, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bio-UV Group founder and CEO, Benoit Gillmann

BIO-UV Group’s founder and CEO Benoít Gillmann said that Bio-UV mobilised its R&D team to develop a system of disinfection for surfaces intended, as a priority, for all nursing staff. “However, the technology has potential application in other sectors,” he said.

BIO-UV Group is verifying the capabilities, performance and reliability of the prototype in two CE-approved laboratories.

“Since 6 April, progress has been made in the completion of a prototype, the performance of which is currently being tested in compliance with the strictest of international standards,” Gillmann said.

“The aim of this testing is to validate the system’s capacity to disinfect and to eliminate all types of microorganisms using UV-C technology. Once this testing has been finalised, a second laboratory will work over the next few weeks on testing the efficacy of the system in eliminating Covid-19.”

If the UV-C scanner’s efficiency is successfully demonstrated, it will be introduced to medical personnel and healthcare workers from the end of May.

“At a later stage, the system will be marketed to other industrial sectors, including the maritime sector to help safeguard our seafarers from being infected. Marketing will go ahead once CE marking has been obtained.

“The objective of this development is to ensure people are working in safe, clean environments and to reassure those coming out of confinement,” Gillmann said.

About BIO-UV Group

For almost 20 years, BIO-UV Group has been designing, manufacturing and marketing ultraviolet light (UV-C) water treatment technologies for a multitude of industrial and collective applications. In 2011, it added the treatment of ship ballast water to its range. The company’s product range is designed and produced at its own purpose-built facility in Lunel, France, allowing the company to quickly respond to its customer’s specific requirements.

In 2019 the BIO-UV Group bought the Scotland-based Triogen company from Suez which manufactures Ozone and AOP water treatment solutions. BIO-UV Group has a consolidated turnover 2019 of €20 million and a current workforce of 115 employees. More than 70% of the group’s sales are made in export markets and a significant growth of more than 63% was realised in 2019, 50% in the ballast water treatment market.


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mv Jorita (background) docked at the port’s Grain Elevator berth to discharge a consignment of imported wheat. Picture: TNPA, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
mv Jorita (background) docked at the port’s Grain Elevator berth to discharge a consignment of imported wheat. Picture: TNPA
HSL Paraty (foreground) docked at the port’s container terminal to discharge and load containers with food products, chemicals and automotive components. Picture: TNPA, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HSL Paraty (foreground) docked at the port’s container terminal to discharge and load containers with food products, chemicals and automotive components.    Picture: TNPA

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) handling essential commodities to guarantee worldwide food supply chains during COVID-19

The Port of East London said yesterday it is continuing to play an active role in facilitating the movement of critical cargo related to the supply and distribution of essential goods such as food, fuel and chemicals.

This is amid the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown in South Africa, and earlier reports of the port having been closed.

“We have been in frequent discussion with representatives from our Provincial and Local Government and all other critical stakeholders, including terminal operators and shipping agents, with regard to port operations, cargo flows and support to ensure the seamless flow of essential cargo through our port,” said TNPA’s East London Port Manager, Sharon Sijako.

“To date,” she said, “all has gone well and our stakeholders are appreciative of the partnership during these challenging times.”

On Friday, 17 April two vessels docked, with the first being the container vessel, HSL PARATY to discharge and load food products, chemicals and automotive components.

This was followed by the bulk carrier, JORITA, with a consignment of wheat, extremely critical given the country’s present wheat shortages, to be discharged and destined for local mills to produce flour primarily for bakeries.

Both vessels were on maiden calls to the port. Earlier in the week saw another critical consignment of export livestock to Port Louis, Mauritius, on-board the livestock carrier, MURRAY EXPRESS.

Livestock carrier Murray Express, seen here leaving Durban following her dry docking in January this year. Picture is by Keith Betts, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Livestock carrier Murray Express, seen here leaving Durban following her dry docking in January this year. The ship regularly carries livestock loaded at East London bound for Port Louis, Mauritius.  Picture is by Keith Betts

South Africa’s only river port also handled liquid bulk tankers with locally refined and imported petroleum products, as well as a consignment of vehicle imports discharged from the car carrier MANON for the local market.

Government has relaxed some of its initial COVID-19 regulations to improve the flow of cargo through the ports. The initial regulations stipulated that only essential goods could be moved through the ports, but this led to terminals becoming congested with imported goods that were not essential goods.

The regulations were subsequently amended to enable the flow of cargo to enable ports to clear cargo congestion.

In the latest regulations announced after the lockdown extension, there is a provision for goods that are currently in ports to be exported, to further reduce any potential congestion.

While the Port of East London’s automotive terminal was provisionally closed in line with Transnet’s decision to minimise any potential COVID-19 virus spread by reducing non-essential operations at its terminals, all the port’s terminals in East London have since resumed restricted operations to support the economy in line with the latest regulations.

Car Carrier MANON in Durban at an earlier time. This ship is another to have worked cargo at East London since the countrywide lockdown.. Picture is by Terry Hutson, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Car Carrier MANON in Durban at an earlier time. This ship is another to have worked cargo at East London since the countrywide lockdown.. Picture is by Terry Hutson



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Puntland bans cross-border trucking; Saudi Arabia lifts ban on Somalia livestock

Map of Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia and The Horn of Africa featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map of autonomous States of Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia at The Horn of Africa


Dalsan Radio in Mogadishu report that cross-border trucking has been banned in a measure aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus in Puntland.

Police have been instructed to enforce the ban on all vehicles attempting to enter or leave the autonomous state, with…[restrict] stiff penalties for anyone attempting to circumvent the rule.

The spread of COVID-19 in Puntland has not reached alarming numbers – 80- infected persons are on record but there have been 5 deaths from the virus.

A curfew has also been imposed and is being enforced, though details of the curfew were not included in the broadcast.


The port city of Mogadishu in Somalia has been placed under a curfew restricting the movement of people in a effort of curbing the spread of COVID-19. Details of the curfew are not available at present.

In a move aimed at assisting the local population, the Somalia government has scrapped taxes on rice, sugar, and cooking oil.

The report highlighted the locust threat facing Somalia, which is now faced with two of the biblical plagues – locust invasion and plague (virus).

In further news, Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on livestock imports from Somalia, the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture reported on Sunday.

The Saudi ministry said the lifting of the ban was with the aim of strengthening local markets with imported livestock.

The ministry said it expected at least 600,000 sheep and 100,000 camels would arrive in the local market, within 30 days, after the expiration of the regular quarantine period.

It stressed that this procedure was taken after setting all conditions for quarantine as a guarantee to protect the Kingdom from the risks of animal epidemic diseases (COVID-19). sources: Dalsan Radio, HornDiplomat[/restrict]


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Map of the Nigerian railway, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map of the Nigerian railway showing Lagos-Ibadan and Warri -Itakpe SGR lines

According to Nigeria’s Federal Government the railway project involving a 4ft 8 1/2 ins  standard gauge railway (SGR) between the port city of Lagos and Ibadan has reached the 90% stage of completion, with only the section linking the new line to the Apapa port still to be completed.

This was announced by the outgoing Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr Sabiu Zakari.

The Permanent Secretary expressed satisfaction that certain rail projects had…[restrict] been completed during his time in office, these included the Abuja-Kaduna light rail train service and the Itakpe-Warri railway, which had been abandoned out of use for over 30 years. The latter was undergoing test train occupation at present, he added.

Construction scene on the Lagos-Ibadan SGR section, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Construction scene on the Lagos-Ibadan SGR section

First SGR for Nigeria

The Lagos-Ibadan railway is one of the sections in Nigeria’s first Standard Gauge Railway Modernisation Project, which aims at replacing Nigeria’s Cape gauge (1067mm) rail network and to enable a high speed railway system to evolve.

The 156km of line between Lagos and Ibadan has been under construction by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). Funding has come from the Export-Import Bank of China and the Nigerian government.

As both Lagos and Ibadan are large populous cities it was expected that the railway would attract heavy passenger as well as cargo traffic.

It is also hoped that the emergence of a new and modern railway will attract business opportunities along the length of the line.

Ultimately the SGR is intended to reach from Lagos to the Federal capital of Abuja and the city of Kaduna in the north of Nigeria, and later to other centres.

In the meantime however Nigeria has also embarked on a programme of refurbishing much of the existing Cape gauge railway network across the country. In some of this programme South Africa’s Transnet is involved.

SGR Locomotive as used on the Lagos-Ibadan section, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SGR Locomotive as used on the Lagos-Ibadan section

Itakpe-Warri SGR

In 2018 the country’s first SGR was completed, linking Itakpe with the port of Warri. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway line has a total length of 276 km and links Warri in Delta State to Ajaokuta, in Kogi State. The rail line from Warri, passing through Itakpe, Ajaokuta, Agbor and Ore, and has six stations along the route.

The intention was for the line to open up access for the port at Warri and to create business opportunities for the Ajaokuta and Delta Steel mills. Dredging of the Niger river and of the Warri port was also undertaken.

The original railway from Warri to Itakpe was abandoned over 30 years ago after about 250km had been completed.[/restrict]


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Tazara passenger train, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tazara passenger train operates between Dar es Salaam and Zambia, but cross border operations have been suspended due to the COVID-19  pandemic

Freight trains continue to operate normal cross-border service

The management of the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) says that goods (freight) train operations along the length of the TAZARA network, from the port at Dar es Salaam to the terminus in Zambia, are continuing as normal.

He said this in respect of news that…[restrict] cross-border passenger services had been suspended as from 30 March, based on concerns for the health and safety of passengers and crew of the trains arising from the threat of coronavirus.

As a result of thos management had agreed to suspend all cross-border passenger servces until further notice. Passenger train services within each country however was continuing.

Tazara rail route from Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Zambia and junction with railway from the south and north (South Africa via Zimbabwe, and DRC), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tazara rail route from Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Zambia and junction with railway from the south and north (South Africa via Zimbabwe, and DRC)

TAZARA Managing Director, Bruno Ching’andu, said the crews of the cargo or goods trains were screened for COVID-19 symptoms by health authorities at the entry points of Tunduma and Nakonde.

In terms of passenger train management he said that police and train attendants were deployed to maintain order especially in terms of management’s level-seat directive for its commuter trains. This had been implemented as from 6 April, he said.

“Each coach attendant locks the coach doors after attaining a level seat of 80 passengers. Doors are only opened when a passenger disembarks and another passenger is allowed in to take the empty seat.

He said tickets are sold in accordance with level seat capacity and it is only passengers with tickets that are allowed to board. Passengers also had to sanitise their hands using sanitising dispensers provided on each coach.

Passengers are also encouraged to wash their hands at the two terminal stations of Dar es Ssalaam and Mwakanga.[/restrict]


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Coronavirus, Domestic Fisheries Policy

Westminster 1930s , appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Funds of £10 million announced for England’s fishing and aquaculture sectors

More than 1,000 fishing and aquaculture businesses in England are to receive direct cash grants through a fisheries support scheme announced on 17 April by Environment Secretary, George Eustice and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay.

In the latest step to protect businesses affected by coronavirus, plans unveiled on the day indicate that up to £9 million will be available for grants to eligible fishing and aquaculture businesses.

A further £1 million will be made available to support projects to assist fishermen to sell their catch in their local communities. These funds will help fishing businesses find new ways to market and sell their catch while traditional markets are restricted. This effort will not only support the sector but also the local communities that depend on the industry.

Because the majority of fish caught is usually destined for export, the English fishing fleet which catches fish stocks such as hake, scallop and crab, has been hit by the closure of traditional export markets and the reduction in demand from the hospitality sector.

It is understood that this support scheme – which will run for up to three months – takes action to meet the immediate needs of the industry by helping English fishing and aquaculture businesses with their fixed costs such as insurance, equipment hire and port costs.

Furthermore, the measures are said to support English industry, in particular smaller fishermen, during this challenging time and follow an unprecedented package of financial support already announced for small businesses.

The main features of the scheme are:

* For the catching sector, the fund will be open to owners of under-24metre loa vessels with fishing licences registered in England who recorded sales of £10,000 or more in 2019.

* Grants will be made to help cover fixed business costs. For the catching sector this will be calculated from the average business costs for the size of the vessel, as surveyed by the industry annually.

* Details of the eligibility criteria, including the criteria for the aquaculture sector and support for local projects, will be announced in due course by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO**).

* The MMO will administer the fund, contacting eligible registered owners and licence holders directly in stages with details of how to apply, starting on 20 April through to early May.

* Payments will be made for up to three months.

Environment Secretary George Eustice commented: “This £10 million scheme will provide a lifeline for more than 1,000 fishing businesses so they can continue to maintain and operate their boats during this challenging time, which has seen falling prices and lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry.

“We are continuing to work closely with the fishing and aquaculture industry to ensure that they are supported and can get back to their vital role of providing fish for the table while contributing to the economy of many of our coastal communities.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay added: “Fishing is at the heart of many of England’s coastal communities – providing local jobs as well as valued produce to their communities and through exports around the world.

“Given the loss of trade particularly to restaurants as a result of Covid-19, this support will help fishing businesses weather the current challenges they face, and facilitate new growth in retail markets through innovative local distribution.”

Tom McCormack, Chief Executive of the Marine Management Organisation, reflected: “We’ve continued to stay closely engaged with the fishing industry and are very much aware of the difficulties many fishing businesses have been facing with the downturn in markets for fish and shellfish. We absolutely acknowledge the importance of our fishing industries and share concerns about these current impacts – it is our problem too.

He said the data collected from the fishing industry has proved timely and incredibly valuable in helping to quickly evidence the current situation and to target where financial support is most needed.

It has been emphasised that seafood and fisheries sectors are encouraged to apply for the existing support available for businesses, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

HMG has been working closely with the fishing industry to support the industry through this challenging period. Together with national fisheries authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the Government is also exploring methods to reduce the regulatory burden on the fishing fleet. These measures will be agreed jointly by the fisheries administrations and announced in due course.


Reported by Paul Ridgway


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Transnet banner, on display in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Transnet has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth R5.2 million as part of the national effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19.

The donation from South Africa’s largest freight company comes after government’s call for businesses and individuals to…[restrict] contribute to the fight against the virus.

The handover of the PPE took place at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) on Saturday 18 April 2020. Most of the donated equipment will be used at this hospital.

The hospital, which offers healthcare services to people in Soweto and surrounding areas, will receive 18,500 PPE kits, including 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser, 2,000 protective coveralls, 2,000 facemasks, 5,000 litres of germicidal hand soap and 1,000 disposable sleeve protectors, latex gloves, infrared and digital thermometers.

CBAH has 2,888 approved beds and 2,680 useable beds. The approved staff at the establishment is 7,106 and the current count of patients is 6,197.

The hospital services an average of 100,000 inpatients and 824,000 outpatient cases annually.

Personal protective equipment will also be shared with other healthcare facilities in the Gauteng province.[/restrict]


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Pictures: IMO ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pictures: IMO ©

Trade by sea must continue to flow to maintain the continued provision of essential goods, including vital medical supplies, during the unprecedented global situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was the message of a joint statement from the heads of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), issued on 17 April.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and WCO Secretary General Dr Kunio Mikuriya strongly urged customs administrations and port state authorities, together with all other concerned agencies, to establish a coordinated and proactive approach to maintaining the integrity of the global supply chain so that the flow of vital goods by sea is not unnecessarily disrupted.

Their joint statement noted that ports are being closed and ships denied entry, as travel is curtailed and borders closed to slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its impacts. Such restrictions, it says, may interrupt much-needed aid and technical support, and have negative social and economic effects on the countries concerned.

It is critical that customs administrations and port state authorities continue to facilitate the cross-border movement of vital medical supplies and equipment, critical agricultural products, and other goods, to help minimise the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and societies, the joint statement said.

The two organisations emphasised the utmost importance of communication, coordination and cooperation at both national and local levels, between ships, port facilities, customs administrations and other competent authorities.

Customs and port administrations are urged to work together to resolve disruptions to the global supply chain, to support the health and well-being of all people.

The joint statement also referred to recommendations and guidance already issued by the two Organizations.

In particular, IMO has distributed a series of recommendations for governments and relevant national authorities, proposed by a broad cross-section of global industry associations representing the maritime transportation sector, including a specific call for governments to designate professional seafarers and marine personnel, regardless of their nationality, as key workers providing an essential service.

See IMO briefing ‘IMO urges keyworker exemptions for crew changes and repatriations’  HERE

The IMO / WCO joint statement comes as the demand for and the movement of relief goods (such as supplies, medicines and medical equipment) across borders is increasing dramatically.

* The full text of the joint statement can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE

* IMO COVID-19 page

* WCO website

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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


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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts manoeuvring exercises in the Black Sea with the Romanian navy frigate Regina Maria (F222) on 13 April. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on her eighth patrol in the US 6th Fleet area of operations in support of US national security interests in Europe and Africa. US Navy photo by Lieutenant Andrew Stopchick Palacio/Released. Photo: USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts manoeuvring exercises in the Black Sea with the Romanian navy frigate Regina Maria (F222) on 13 April. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on her eighth patrol in the US 6th Fleet area of operations in support of US national security interests in Europe and Africa. US Navy photo by Lieutenant Andrew Stopchick Palacio/Released. Photo: USN ©

It was reported by US Navy News Service on 16 April that the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) had been operating in the Black Sea as part of a 6th Fleet patrol.

Porter was at the time underway on her eighth forward deployed Naval Forces-Europe patrol, after taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of the ship’s company.

Currently, three US Navy destroyers are operating in…[restrict] US 6th Fleet. Crews from USS Porter in the Black Sea, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) in the Atlantic, and USS Donald (DDG 75) in the Baltic are healthy and sailing in the waters surrounding Europe.

It has been reported that with the support of partners and allies, Porter will remain safely at sea, focusing on operational requirements and executing national tasking during the COVID 19 response.

On arrival in the Black Sea, Porter conducted manoeuvres with the Romanian frigate Regina Maria (F222) in those waters to demonstrate the strength and cooperation of nations across the NATO Alliance.

In the words of Commander Craig Trent, Porter’s CO: “Porter has routinely operated in the Black Sea over the past few years, demonstrating our continued commitment to security and stability in the region. We are excited to be back in early 2020. The crew and I have been looking forward to strengthening our relationship with our regional maritime partners.”

Porter began her northbound international strait transit en route to the Black Sea on 13 April in order to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability with NATO allies and partners in the region.

It is understood that this is the second time a US warship has visited the Black Sea since the beginning of 2020. USS Ross (DDG 77) was here in January.

The US Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention*.

The US 6th Fleet will continue to conduct replenishments at sea and limit port visits to brief stops for fuel in order to keep crews healthy and mission-ready.

Porter, forward-deployed to Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the US 6th Fleet area of operations in support of US national security interests in Europe.

With HQ in Naples the 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.


Edited by Paul Ridgway
London, based on material kindly
provided by Ensign Andrew Walker, USS Porter

Quartermaster 3rd Class Hunter Hazlett takes a bearing as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) transits through Istanbul on passage to the Black Sea on 13 April. US Navy photo by Information Technology Specialist 1st Class Miguel Palacio/Released. Photo: USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Quartermaster 3rd Class Hunter Hazlett takes a bearing as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) transits through Istanbul on passage to the Black Sea on 13 April. US Navy photo by Information Technology Specialist 1st Class Miguel Palacio/Released. Photo: USN ©



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Port of Walvis Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Walvis Bay

On Friday morning, 17 April, an employee of Grindrod Namibia Stevedoring, identified as 57-years-old Moses Uiseb, died in an accident during operations in the port.

According to reports the accident took place at around 08h30 while RoRo wheeled cargo was being discharged at berth 1 at the port.

A police report says that Mr Uiseb and two colleagues were attempting to…[restrict] jump start an imported truck that had just been discharged from the vessel.

One of the colleagues was behind the wheel of the stalled vehicle as Mr Uiseb and a second man used a large battery.

It is thought that the vehicle had not been placed in neutral gear and with the jump-start the truck moved sharply forward, running over Mr Uiseb.

Paramedics were called to the scene and attempted to revive him but by the time an ambulance arrived Mr Uiseb had passed away.

The colleague from behind the wheel of the truck was arrested and faces charges in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court today (Monday) of reckless and negligent driving and driving without a drivers licence.

During the initial investigation and subsequent trauma counselling, operations at the berth were discontinued and resumed later at 19h00.[/restrict]


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French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle

About half of the crew on board the French aircraft carrier CHARLES DE GAULLE have tested positive with the coronavirus, the French Defence Ministry has announced on Friday.

This comes after a initial report of 10 April that 50 of the crew had tested positive. Earlier last week the French Navy said that there were 40 suspected cases on board the ship.

Charles de Gaulle returned to her base at Toulon during the week for…[restrict] disembarkation and disinfection treatment, which is now underway and which is expected to continue into May.

Prior to returning to Toulon the ship called in Cyprus and at Brest. She then moved to the waters of the North Sea. Whilst in the North Sea the commanding officer alerted Navy headquarters that he had suspected cases of the COVID=19 on board and asked for the exercise to be ended immediately, ten days early. This the defence ministry agreed to.

The United States Navy has similar problems with four of its aircraft carriers having cases of COVID-19 on board. These are USS Theodore Roosevelt alongside at Guam, USS Nimitz at Bremerton, USS Carl Vinson also at Bremerton and USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka in Japan.

There are conflicting reports of COVID-19 on board the Nimitz with navy reports saying that a crewman from the ship had tested positive but was not on the ship at the time, having gone on leave. Crew who had close contact with him had been placed in quarantine as a precaution.[/restrict]


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Spirit of Hamburg, sailing in this earlier photograph as Bahia L:aura. Picture by Fleetmon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Spirit of Hamburg, sailing in this earlier photograph as Bahia Laura. Picture by Fleetmon

The master of the Isle of Man-flagged container ship SPIRIT OF HAMBURG (IMO 9391660) has been murdered by members of his crew while the ship was at the port of Cartagena.

The ship’s master was named as Capt. Myo Tun Zaw, aged 50. There have been conflicting reports about his death, with local media reporting that the captain got into a fight with 12 of his crew, all Filipinos.

Where the media sourced that report is not clear, but the ship’s managers, Zeaborn Ship Management, while…[restrict] confirming the incident and that it took place in the afternoon of Thursday, 16 April 2020, said that “one of its valued seafarers” suffered fatal injuries following “what is believed to be a violent incident with an intruder onboard the ship in the port of Cartagena, Colombia.”

Zeaborn said that representatives of the company had arrived in Cartagena for further support to the crew and that the exact circumstances of the violent incident are yet unknown and that police have started an official investigation into the events and conducted interviews with the crew of Spirit of Hamburg.

While these investigations continue the 53,139-dwt ship has been moved from its berth to the port’s inner anchorage.

Zeaborn also emphasised that three senior officers are one month beyond their contractual relief date, but they are “showing great professionalism in making the best of the current relief/repatriation restrictions. All other crew are due for relief between now and October.”

Local prosecutors said that in terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), crimes on board a ship such as Spirit of Hamburg fall under the jurisdiction of the flag state which has primary responsibility for the investigation.

The Cartagena Attorney General’s Office in an official statement to local media has subsequently confirmed the crime was committed by crew members, not by outsiders.  However, althougn the murder occurred while the ship was alongside the berth it appears the Colombian authorities are not enthusiastic about pursuing the case and would rather the flag state takes charge.

It is also being reported that the master was shot dead.[/restrict]


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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

UPDATE – Sunday evening 19 April

Two naval ships including the Portuguese vessel described above, have reached the container ship but it is not known whether any attempt has been made to board the vessel.

With a number of pirates on board and a suspected eight members of the crew possibly being held by the the pirates, the situation has become a delicate one. The crew on board the container ship are understood to be Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Filipino.

MONDAY UPDATE – Monday morning 20 April

Dryad Global reports that the remaining 8 crew are currently believed to be being held on board the vessel.

Reporting on the morning of 20 April indicates that assistance had been sought from Nigeria who are understood to have dispatched a Nigerian patrol boat NNS OSE with a detachment of Nigerian Naval Special Boat Service arriving at 20h30.

It is understood that the situation is ongoing and 8 crew remain held hostage on board the vessel.


Latest news from the container ship is that a Nigerian Navy detachment boarded the vessel unopposed, to find no pirates on board and 11 crew hiding in the ship’s citadel.  It can be assumed that all the pirates left on their speedboat when they saw a Portuguese naval ship approaching, taking eight of the crew including the Bulgarian master with them as hostages.



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