Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 17 May 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


Seamax Stamford Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Seamax Stamford Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Seamax Stamford Pictures: Keith Betts

The container ship SEAMAX STAMFORD (IMO 9623855) makes a stately entry into the port of Durban with a substantial cargo of containers on display. The US-owned, Anglo-Eastern Ship Management vessel was at the time in service between the Far East, South Africa and West Africa and has the Marshall Islands as her flag state. Seamax Stamford has a container capacity of 4,896-TEU and was built in 2015. She has a length of 250 metres and width of 37m and a deadweight of 55,937 tons. Pictures: Keith Betts



News continues below


Irish Lights Vessel (ILV) Granuaile (carrying the name of Grace O’Malley pirate queen of Irish folklore) on station at Fastnet lighthouse with a range of 27 Nautical miles. Position: 51°23.358ʹN : 09°36.178ʹW., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Irish Lights Vessel (ILV) Granuaile (carrying the name of Grace O’Malley pirate queen of Irish folklore) on station at Fastnet lighthouse with a range of 27 Nautical miles. Position: 51°23.358ʹN : 09°36.178ʹW

Evac Evolution ballast water management system (BWMS) will be installed in ILV GRANUAILE, an aids to navigation service vessel operated by the Dublin-based Commissioners of Irish Lights, the General Lighthouse for Ireland – see

The vessel’s primary function is to lay and service 150 offshore buoys, which warn mariners of the location of sand banks, reefs and other offshore hazards.

Granuaile also provides support for the teams tasked with maintaining 65 lighthouses and beacons around the coast of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In addition, the ship supports the national response to maritime wreck and new dangers to navigation.

With an loa of 79.69m, the ship is equipped with advanced dynamic positioning equipment and accommodates a crew of 16.

In the words of Adam Rogers, Evac’s Head of Global Sales for Ballast Water Management Systems: “We are delighted to have won the BWMS order for a vessel which has such an important role in maintaining safety at sea and protecting the marine environment.”

It is understood that the vessel will be installed with an Evac Evolution system with the capacity to treat ballast water at a rate of up to 250m3/hr. Components will be supplied in modular form enabling them to be distributed to make the best use of available space within the engine room.

The Evac Evolution attained IMO and US Coast Guard Approval last year, opening the way to worldwide sales. Based on a combination of filtration and UV technology, the space-saving system is energy effective and completely chemical-free. It has a ‘feedback loop’ which uses UV transmission as the parameter for precisely determining UV dosage. This ensures effectiveness in challenging water conditions, but saves on power during normal running.

Effective in fresh, brackish and seawater, the Evac Evolution system enables vessels to operate without restriction. The system is available with capacities from 34m3/hr to 1,500m3/hr in a single unit. It can be supplied in modular form for retrofits or skid mounted for newbuild applications.

The Evac Evolution system has been installed in a variety of vessels including cruise ships, container vessels, research ships, offshore supply vessels and cable laying craft where its small footprint and potential for flexible installation have proved to be important assets.

About Evac Group

With HQ in Helsinki and offices in 14 countries across four continents and representatives in more than 70 countries Evac is a leading provider of integrated water and waste management systems, as well as corrosion-protection systems for the marine, offshore, and building industries. Evac has been trading for 40 years.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Kmarin Aqua at the anchorage outside Port Elizabeth, awaiting cargo commence Eastern Cape citrus exports, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kmarin Aqua at the anchorage outside Port Elizabeth, awaiting cargo commence Eastern Cape citrus exports

The Maersk operated vessel, KMARIN AQUA docked at the Port of PE’s Berth 103 on Tuesday, 12 May 2020, to discharge 850 containers, of which 524 were reefer (refrigerated) containers for the export of citrus from the Port of PE.

“With the negative economic impact that COVID-19 has presented not only to South Africa, but to the entire world, it is significant that the Port of PE can ensure the efficient facilitation of imports and exports, whilst ensuring strict compliance to all regulations in managing the safety, security and health concerns of our employees, customers, port users and stakeholders,” said port manager, Rajesh Dana.

“The Port of PE COVID-19 Level 4 operations are geared towards ensuring that we continue to be a customer-centric multi-cargo port that prides itself on flexibility and service excellence,” Dana added

“We are proud that we are able to provide our full maritime service offering which includes, Vessel Traffic Services, two tug boats, pilotage and berthing crew, which are operational 24 hours, seven days a week to ensure that we adequately meet shipping needs during this difficult time.

“This ensures that the Port of PE continues to play its part in reviving economic activity and facilitating the economic recovery of our region and South Africa,” Dana said.

Despite the logistical challenges that COVID-19 lockdown has brought about, South Africa’s citrus export season has gotten off to a good start with a notable increase in global demand being evident so far.

As a result of some of the impacts of COVID-19 in other countries, there has been a marked increase in the demand for citrus supplies from South Africa. Another reason that has been cited for the increase in demand is the international drive for healthy foods to boost immune systems. Lemons for example, fall in the category of Vitamin C products, which is an immune booster.

The container vessel has since sailed from the port and is remaining at anchorage outside awaiting the arrival of more citrus cargo.


News continues below


containers being loaded onto a ship. Picture Terry Hutsn, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: Terry Hutson

Global trade values fell 3% in the first quarter of 2020

An estimated quarter-on-quarter decline of 27% is expected in the second quarter

Commodity prices fell by a record 20% in March, driven by steep drops in oil prices

It was reported from UNCTAD HQ in Geneva on 13 May that the coronavirus pandemic cut global trade values by 3% in the first quarter of this year. This was according to the latest UNCTAD data published in a joint report* by 36 international organisations**.

The downturn is expected to accelerate in the second quarter, with global trade projected to record a quarter-on-quarter decline of 27%, according to the report by the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA).

The report is a product of cooperation between the international statistics community and national statistical offices and systems around the world, coordinated by UNCTAD.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said: “Everywhere governments are pressed to make post-COVID-19 recovery decisions with long-lasting consequences. Those decisions should be informed by the best available information and data. I’m…[restrict] proud that UNCTAD has played a central role in bringing so many international organizations together to compile valuable facts and figures to support the response to the pandemic.”

Commodity prices falling too

According to the report, the drop in global trade is accompanied by marked decreases in commodity prices, which have fallen precipitously since December last year.

UNCTAD’s free market commodity price index (FMCPI), which measures the price movements of primary commodities exported by developing economies, lost 1.2% of its value in January, 8.5% in February and a whopping 20.4% in March.

Plummeting fuel prices were the main driver of the steep decline, plunging 33.2% in March, while prices of minerals, ores, metals, food and agricultural raw materials tumbled by less than 4%.

The greater than 20% fall in commodity prices in March was a record in the history of the FMCPI. By comparison, during the global financial crisis of 2008, the maximum month-on-month decrease was 18.6%.

At that time, the descent lasted six months. Worryingly, the duration and overall strength of the current downward trend in commodity prices and global trade remain uncertain.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic sent international commerce into a tailspin, global merchandise trade volumes and values were showing modest signs of recovery since late 2019.

UNCTAD Global merchandise trade values, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
UNCTAD Global merchandise trade values

Situation changing rapidly

The UNCTAD nowcasts featured in the report incorporate a wide variety of data sources, capturing diverse determinants and indicators of trade, but the situation is changing rapidly.

In the words of Steve MacFeely, UNCTAD’s Chief Statistician: “In this time of crisis, we are putting out the facts as we know them today. We’ll continue monitoring the global trade landscape as it evolves.

“I’m delighted the international statistical community could step up, mobilise quickly and publish such a useful and fascinating report. It was a great honour for UNCTAD to lead this endeavour.”

In the final paragraph of the report it is said: “The statistics presented in this report are the tip of the iceberg. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites of the contributing organizations, where they can find a wealth of data and high-quality information.”

As the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said: “With common cause for common sense and facts, we can defeat COVID-19 – and build a healthier, more equitable, just and resilient world.”

Future publications

Next, UNCTAD will release a new monthly trade nowcast, which will provide quarterly nowcasts for merchandise trade.

It is also revamping its existing Trade-in-Services bulletin that monitors the latest trends in global trade in services. Future editions will include a nowcast for the latest quarter.

Reported by Paul Ridgway

* See HERE Within this document also see: Page 74 COVID-19 in Africa (UNECA)

** Contributing organisations
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Cooperation Council for the Arab Countries of the Gulf (GCC) European Central Bank (ECB) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) International Labour Organization (ILO) International Monetary Fund (IMF) International Organization for Migration (IOM) International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN Habitat) United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)/United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Universal Postal Union (UPU) World Bank (WB) World Health Organization (WHO) World Trade Organization (WTO)[/restrict]


News continues below

swims 6500km from Mozambique to Indonesia
longest ever recorded journey by a shark

Tiger shark in the deep blu sea, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tiger shark in the deep blue sea. The shark gets its name from the stripes on its body, which later fade as the shark ages 

The 3.15m mature female, named Sereia, was tagged on the African coast in Mozambique in November 2018 and was detected via satellite in April 2020, about 500km off the Indonesian coast.

The over 4,000 mile journey is the longest on record.

The tags for Sereia and other tiger sharks in the project were deployed in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve

A tiger shark tagged by BioPixelTV scientists made the longest ever recorded swim across the Indian Ocean of over 4,000 miles. The tiger shark has been named Sereia, and BioPixelTV’s shark research partners OCEARCH tweeted out about the record breaking journey.

Check out this groundbreaking journey from tiger shark Sereia! Her more than 4,000-mile journey confirms tiger sharks can cross the Indian Ocean. This is incredible! She was tagged by collaborating scientists from @BiopixelTV Oceans Foundation and @saambr

Sereia is an adult female tiger shark weighing 478 lbs. She is 10 feet, 4 inches. BioPixel TV tagged her November 19th, 2018 in Pinnacles, Mozambique.

Sereia’s first ping was a few days later on 29 November 2018 at 23h47. She then travelled …[restrict] hundreds of miles north along the eastern coastline of Africa, past Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and about half way past the coastline of Somalia.

At this point Sereia did a 180 degree turn and swam back south along the coastline until she reached just offshore of the Tanzania/Mozambique border, where she turned east and began her record breaking journey across the Indian Ocean on 10 September 2019.

Sereia’s next ping came 7 months later on April 10th, 2020 over 4,000 miles east of her previous position, on the east side of the Indian Ocean.

Her most recent ping was 30 April 2020 which shows her swimming zig zag patterns well offshore of Singapore, up and down the NinetyEast ocean ridge, which is the longest and straightest ocean ridge in the world.

Whoa! Face-off with an inquisitive Tiger shark. Tiger sharks are rated among the most dangerous in the ocean, as theye at just about anything that looks edible, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Whoa! Face-off with an inquisitive Tiger shark. Tiger sharks are rated among the most dangerous in the ocean, as theye at just about anything that looks edible.  Picture: YouTube

“We had no idea a shark from Mozambique would end up off the coast of Indonesia,” said Dr Ryan Daly of the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban South Africa.

Dr Daly is also a research associate at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.

“This is incredibly important because it confirms that tiger sharks are roaming throughout the Indian Ocean and we need to take this into account when thinking about improving conservation for them in the region,” he adds.

Sereia is one of 21 sharks tagged by the Biopixel Oceans Foundation and the Oceanographic Research Institute in Mozambique as part of a project to lay down a baseline understanding of tiger shark movements and habitat use in the west Indian ocean.

Prior to starting the project, very little was known about the residency patterns and migration dynamics of tiger sharks in this region.

The tags for Sereia and other tiger sharks in the project were deployed in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve which neighbours South Africa.

The 3.15m mature female, named Sereia, was tagged on the African coast in Mozambique in November 2018 and was detected via satellite in April 2020, about 500km off the Indonesian coast.

This equates to a transoceanic journey of more than 6500km. Sereia now has the longest confirmed migration for the species on record.

Seria, tagged by collaborating scientists at Biopixel Oceans Foundation and the Oceanographic Research Institute, has confirmed that the species is capable of crossing the Indian Ocean. Source: South Coast Herald[/restrict]


News continues below

Federal Agencies seek new steward
National Historic Lighthouse preservation Act applies

At Boston Light beams radiate across the night sky. The light has a range of 27 nautical miles. Picture by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi of US Coast Guard District 1 (USCG ©), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
At Boston Light beams radiate across the night sky. The light has a range of 27 nautical miles. Picture by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi of US Coast Guard District 1 (USCG ©)


National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act applies

It was reported from Boston on 13 May that the US Coast Guard, in partnership with the US General Services Administration, has initiated the process to transfer stewardship of Light Station Boston, commonly known as Boston Light, under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA).

The decision to move forward with this process was announced at The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership virtual meeting on 13 May.

At 304-years old, Light Station Boston is the oldest staffed lighthouse in the United States. Since 1939, the…[restrict] US Coast Guard has been the steward of the lighthouse. Over those eighty-one years, Light Station Boston has evolved from a navigational facility to a lighthouse museum and is listed on the National Register of Historic places.

By transferring stewardship through the NHLPA, the US Coast Guard’s goal is to ensure the future historic preservation and public access of Light Station Boston.

The NHLPA meets the US Coast Guard’s statutory mandate to develop a plan to provide public access to Light Station Boston and Little Brewster Island and to ensure the special historic character of the light will be preserved. The U.S. Coast Guard trusts the NHLPA process, which has led to over 100 successful lighthouse transfers across the country, to bring about the best steward for Light Station Boston.

The US Coast Guard will continue to maintain the active aid to navigation at Boston Light, along with the island’s fog signal.

National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 provides an opportunity for the preservation of federally-owned historic lighthouses. The NHLPA recognises the cultural, recreational, and educational value associated with historic lighthouses by allowing these national treasures to be transferred at no cost to federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profit corporations, educational and community development organisations.

NHLPA process has led to the sustainable preservation of more than 100 lighthouses across the US. During this process, the US Coast Guard and General Services Administration (GSA) will transparently coordinate with various organizations that have an interest in Boston Light, including the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, Boston Harbor Islands Partnership (BHIP), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Light Station Boston was built by the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1716 on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor, in close proximity to the Town of Hull.

The federal government took possession in 1790 and the US Coast Guard assumed control in 1939. Its rich history and continued operation stem from the tireless dedication of the present Keeper, Dr Sally Snowman, and the sixty-nine Keepers who came before her.

Little Brewster Island is within the boundaries of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, which includes 34 islands and peninsulas in the Boston Harbor. The recreation area is managed as collaborative of 11 different agencies, including federal, state, and non-profit entities that make up the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. This Partnership is a federally-legislated body that oversees the park’s management.

For more information readers are invited to visit: CLICK HERE

[/restrict]Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below



Artisinal fishing on Lake Victoria, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Artisinal fishing on Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria fish harvest hits five-year low

Reports from the Great Lakes region of Africa suggest that commercial fishing on Lake Victoria has been severely affected by water pollution and resultant legislation.

According to the Economic Survey 2020 report, quoted in Business Daily, fish production from the lake, Africa’s largest, decreased to its lowest in five years of 90,743 tonnes.

This is said to highlight not only…[restrict] legislation targeting water pollution but laws brought in to protect the environment that hinder the future of commercial fishing.

In 2015 the fish output was recorded as 109,902 tonnes, meaning a decline of 19,159 tonnes in five years.


Lake Victoria net fishing featuredin Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Economic Survey 2020 identified water pollution and restrictive measures against fishing in Uganda and Tanzania as the reason for the difficulties facing Kenyan fishermen.

It said the quality of water has been degraded with the presence of heavy metals such as mercury and copper in the lake, making it more difficult for certain fish species to breed. In the early years of this century the catch was between 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes annually.

But that’s not to say the Kenya is not complicit in this matter. Standards set by the National Environment Management Authority for treating water before releasing it into the lake are not being met by Kibos Sugar and the Kisumu County-owned Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company Ltd, who are among several companies accused of not meeting the required standards.

Reports say that waste from the industries along the shores of the lake and untreated sewage as well as the widespread practice of open defecation have continued to contaminate the lake.

This compells small-time fishermen to move deep into the waters of the lake to caste their nets in order to get a catch. Source: Business Daily[/restrict]


News continues below

EU Naval Ops in the Med

UENAVFOR IRINI banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Libya is Europe’s immediate neighbour and a priority for the European Union.

The situation in the country is critical and requires urgent action. EU leaders took a commitment at the Berlin Conference at the beginning of 2020 to support a political process aimed at ending the conflict in Libya.

EUNAVFOR MED IRINI is a concrete and tangible contribution by the European Union, translating calls and statements into action.

Named after the ancient Greek Goddess of Peace, IRINI is a…[restrict] military Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation deployed in the Mediterranean that aims at contributing to achieve peace and stability in Libya.

To do this, Operation IRINI will deploy aerial, naval and satellite assets to ensure an active implementation of the UN arms embargo off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean, together with other secondary tasks. EUNAVFOR MED IRINI succeeds Operation SOPHIA as the second EU naval operation in the Mediterranean.

The primary task of the operation is the implementation of the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council – through UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) and UN Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016). By contributing to stemming the flow of weapons into Libya, the operation will help create the conditions for a permanent ceasefire in Libya.

As secondary tasks Operation IRINI:

* Contributes to the implementation of UN measures to prevent the illicit export of petroleum from Libya through monitoring and surveillance activities, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2146 (2014) and UN Security Council Resolution 2509 (2020).

* Provides capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea.

* Contributes to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2240 (2015).


Rear-Admiral Fabio Agostini from Italy is the commander of the Operation with HQ in Rome and a budget of €9.8 million. The mandate for running the operation commenced on 31 March 2020 and runs for one year. Armed forces personnel from 23 countries will take part.

With these means, the Operation gathers extensive and comprehensive information on the trafficking of arms and related materiél and shares this information with relevant partners and agencies. EUNAVFOR MED IRINI may inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya bound to or from the country and suspected to be carrying arms or related materiel in violation of the arms embargo.

In the words of Josep Borrell: High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: “Even in these difficult times with the Coronavirus outbreak, the EU is taking important decisions to bolster its engagement in the world.

“With our CSDP crisis management operation in the Mediterranean Sea EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, we aim to contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya and to promoting peace in our neighbourhood. This is a tangible way in which the EU is helping to end the long-running conflict in Libya, right on the EU’s doorstep.”[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Seatrade reefers at Durban's Fresh Produce Terminal on the T-Jetty, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Seatrade reefers at Durban’s Fresh Produce Terminal on the T-Jetty

According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (NAMC), there is no doubt that, since the global Covid-19 pandemic was declared, the demand for citrus has remained strong and prices are still on the rise.

The consumption of citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes are becoming an important complementary product with garlic and ginger that most parts of the world are consuming as immune system boosters against Covid-19. An increase in demand for lemons and other citrus fruits can be expected, it says, as well as other fresh produce.

After Covid-19 there is high probability that…[restrict] people will recognise the value of eating healthily and will continue to do so. Countries such as Mexico, Argentina, European Union, Turkey, United States and South Africa, amongst others are top producers of lemons and limes, and they could benefit in the export market for citrus fruits. It should be commended that the South African citrus industry is the second-biggest global exporter in the world and the industry is thriving and is expected to continue doing so.

NAMC says the 2020 export season has shown a strong increase in the global demand for citrus. Currently the export volumes of lemons doubled that of 2019.

Citrus Growers Association (CGA) reported that Lemon packing and shipping has started early in 2020 and up until now 6 million cartons have been packed which is almost 25% of the predicted total. To date the increased global demand of lemons has resulted to 5,1 million 15kg equivalent cartoons exported which is more than double the 2,1 million 15kg equivalent cartoons exported in 2019.

The bulk of shipments have been exported to the Middle East (64%).

A total of 1.2 million of the estimated 2 million cartoons of soft citrus have already been packed. Therefore, a total of 1 million cartons of soft citrus have been exported with a bulk of it destined for the United Kingdom (48%), Europe (29%) and Russia (21%).

Only 700,000 cartons of grapefruit have been packed with a total of 637 thousand cartoons exported to date. Europe and South East Asia were the major importers of South Africa’s grapefruits constituting 45% and 29% respectively with the small percent going to other parts of the world.

The total of oranges packed till now have not been clearly stated. Currently 24 thousand cartoons of oranges have been exported, all of them were exported to the Middle East. On the other side, despite the increase in global demand for citrus, there are many factors affecting the 2020 export season in South Africa which becomes costly for many

One of them is the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the cost of harvesting, handling and packaging given all the mobility restrictions and hygiene measures implemented to prevent the spread of the disease.

To see the full NAMC reports CLICK HERE



News continues below


Guidance for working on tank containers, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Guidance for Working on Top of a Tank Container is a new publication from the International Tank Container Organisation (ITCO) and is intended for companies engaging in activities that require personnel to work on the top of a tank container.

This guidance assists in the risk assessment process and the selection of equipment and safe working, prior to accessing the top of a tank container.

It is the advice of ITCO that procedures should be reviewed to determine if a process change could be introduced that would allow tasks to be undertaken at ground level. Appropriate safety standards and procedures should be in place, in order to minimise the risk of a fall. Personnel should be trained and qualified in safety and the functions that they are required to undertake.

To download the full Guidance document readers are invited to CLICK HERE

More information may be requested from the ITCO Secretariat by e-mail at:

Alternatively, the ITCO website may be seen at

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Aerial view of Namdock’s shipyard, which includes three floating docks and fully equipped on-site fabrication facilities, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of Namdock’s shipyard, which includes three floating docks and fully equipped on-site fabrication facilities

Namdock, the wholly Namibian-owned ship maintenance and repair company based at the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia, has resumed full operations as from Tuesday 5 May 2020.

This follows a lockdown of business operations across Namibia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is in accordance with the inception of stage 2 of Namibia’s national Covid-19 lockdown. This latest development has seen the partial easing of restrictive measures thanks to the recent flattening of the very minimal in-country infection curve.

“Over the past few weeks we have put strict personal protection and sanitisation measures in place, to ensure that we could safely resume full-capacity operations when the time came,” said Namdock acting CEO, Heritha Nankole Muyoba.

Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Namdock, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Namdock

“Our first priority is always the health and wellbeing of our valued staff and clients, and all business operations are conducted according to those priorities,” she said.

“I am therefore happy to report that our repair and maintenance yard activities are once again fully operational. All facilities and staff members are adhering to the prescribed Covid-19 safety and sanitisation regulations. These include working in shifts and observing strict social distancing, regular temperature readings, handwashing, wearing of face masks, gloves and other prescribed personal protective equipment (PPE).”

Muyoba said that as a further precautionary lockdown measure, the Namibian Ports Authority Namport has instituted a directive requiring foreign-flagged vessels to stay at anchorage for a minimum period of 2 weeks before entering the main port or docking for repairs. In some instances, the two week waiting period may be reduced, taking into account the vessel’s time spent at sea after leaving the last port of call.

Meanwhile, Namdock has undertaken extensive research into recommended Covid-19 mitigation measures, and is thereby taking every precaution to ensure the safety of its clients, employees, and service providers – as well as the local Walvis Bay community – during this pandemic.

“We are following all recommendations and protocols as directed by the Namibian Government, as well as the Namibian Port Authority (Namport). We have to this end also implemented a comprehensive Covid-19 response plan, in accordance with recommendations by the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services and the World Health Organisation,” she advises.
In addition, the company also adopted a proactive approach to ongoing risk management, and has subsequently continually monitored adherence to the preventative measures put in place, in accordance with global best practice.

Namdock, which docked vessels within the first day of resuming full operations, anticipates that its shipyard – which includes three floating docks and fully equipped on-site fabrication facilities – will become busier.

“This is despite the offshore sector being under pressure due to the currently low oil price, which has been negatively impacted by the drastic reduction in the demand caused by, amongst other Covid-19-related factors, the ban on international air travel,” Muyoba said.

She said that with their Panamax-sized dock, Namdock is well-positioned to offer general classification work, and to service bulk container, cargo and fishing vessels. “In addition, with our extensive general engineering, welding and fabrication facilities and expertise, we are equally well-positioned to service coastal mining and other sectors.”


News continues below


Maersk Newport. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Newport. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

Interim Report 1st Quarter 2020 for AP Møller-Mærsk A/S

In the first quarter of the year, the Danish firm of AP Moller-Maersk has again delivered profitable growth, reports chief executive officer, Søren Skou.

“Operating earnings increased by 23% year-on-year, and cash return on invested capital increased by 3.5 percentage points to 10.5%,” he says.

“The strong results were made during…[restrict] a quarter with sharp fuel costs increases derived from the industry’s switch to low-sulphur fuel and on the backdrop of a contraction in global trade due to lockdowns in most regions. From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis our focus has been on the health and well-being of our employees, on supporting our customer’s businesses and the societies we are part of.

“Skou said that the transformation of AP Moller-Maersk from a diversified conglomerate to becoming a focused, integrated and digitised global logistics company continues to be validated also in this quarter, “as we are serving our customers, connecting and digitising their supply chains, while also growing earnings and free cash flow in difficult circumstances.”

He said that looking into Q2 2020, visibility remains low as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We continue to support our customers in keeping their supply chains running, however as global demand continues to be significantly affected, we expect volumes in Q2 to decrease across all businesses, possibly by as much as 20-25%.

“2020 is a challenging year, but as we proactively respond to lower demands and show progress in our transformation and financial performance, we are strongly positioned to weather the storm.”

Skou revealed that in the Ocean side of the business, EBITDA increased 25% to US$ 1.2bn in Q1 2020 and the EBITDA margin of 16.3% increased from 13.4%, driven by factors compensating for the increase in fuel prices following the implementation of IMO 2020.

This included a positive result from the self-supply bunker strategy and adjustments in capacity mitigating the lower volumes related to COVID-19.

“More than 90 sailings were blanked, leading to a decline of 3.5% in Maersk’s average deployed capacity in Q1. For Q2, we will continue our measures to mitigate the impact of declining demand. Unit cost at fixed bunker decreased by 2.3%, mainly due to optimisation in capacity, which offset the lower volumes.”

Looking ahead, Skou said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to lead to material uncertainty in the coming quarters.

“Looking into Q2 2020, visibility remains low as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to support our customers in keeping their supply chains running, however as global demand continues to be significantly affected, we expect volumes in Q2 to decrease across all businesses, possibly by as much as 20-25%.

“2020 is a challenging year, but as we proactively respond to lower demands and show progress in our transformation and financial performance, we are strongly positioned to weather the storm,” says Søren Skou.

The global market growth in demand for containers is expected to contract in 2020 due to COVID-19 (previously between 1-3% growth). Organic volume growth in Ocean is expected to be in line with or slightly lower than average market growth.

Maersk Q1 2020 report, featureing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news



News continues below


First container train heading to Naivasha ICD. Picture CN News, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
First container train heading to Naivasha ICD. Picture News CN

Bolloré Transport & Logistics says it has launched a rail service for cargo from Mombasa to Uganda through the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The first train loaded with 64 TEUs of cargo consigned to clients of Bolloré Transport & Logistics was received at Naivasha ICD on 7 May 2020.

See our earlier report regarding the opening of the Naivasha ICD HERE

By using the rail to transport cargo up to Naivasha, the company hopes to…[restrict] reduce exposure of long-distance drivers to the virus, while also protecting the populations living in numerous roadside towns frequently used as truck stops along the A104 highway between Mombasa and Naivasha.

Inside the driving unit of the first Kenya Railways container train to Naivasha. Picture News CN, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Inside the driving unit of the first Kenya Railways container train to Naivasha. Picture News CN

A delegation of stakeholders led by Bolloré Transport & Logistics Regional CEO for East Africa Jason Reynard, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, James Macharia, Chief Administration Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Rashid Abdi Aman, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General Githii Mburu, Kenya Ports Authority Ag. Managing Director Dr Rashid Salim and Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga, was present to witness the event.

A fleet of Bolloré Transport & Logistics long haul trucks & trailers from Uganda was already waiting at the Container Depot to offload export consignments onto the train and take up cargo for last mile delivery to Kampala. This well-choreographed exchange will ensure cost efficiency by ensuring both train and trailers are loaded for the two-way journeys.

The Covid-19 epidemic has put immense pressure on the supply chain as the industry works to safeguard the health and safety of its teams while ensuring the cargo keeps moving, said Jason Reynard.

“We have been exploring rail as a solution and we are thankful for the support we have received in launching this new service. Guided by our key pillars of safety, solidarity and service continuity, Bolloré Transport & Logistics will continue to act with caution and concern in our operations while developing innovative solutions to move the cargo safely, in full and on time.”[/restrict]


News continues below



Rev Ken Peters

It is with great sadness that we announce that The Revd Canon Ken Peters died on 9 May 2020 at the age of 66.

After 38 years of distinguished service within The Mission to Seafarers (MtS), Ken was very well known across the world, not just to the MtS family but to many beyond.

After first working for the Mission as a student, he soon returned to take up port chaplaincies in the UK and Japan where he made a significant difference to seafarers’ lives.

It was, however, in his subsequent role that he leaves the most transformational legacy – as MtS Director of Justice and Welfare.

In this capacity he became well-known, and indeed well-loved, throughout the maritime industry. He worked and travelled tirelessly and sacrificially training chaplaincy teams and maritime inspectors.

Within the Mission to Seafarers he established high standards in the provision of quality local advocacy, always stressing the importance of partnership. His leadership role touched on many areas of the organisation’s life.

Beyond the Mission, he was regarded as one of the world’s leading advocates in crew welfare. He influenced policy and made regular interventions at international fora, including at the IMO and at the ILO, representing all the maritime charities under the International Christian Maritime Association.

He liaised closely with key global shipping, trade and professional associations. To all his dealings he brought an academic rigour and long practical experience. All who knew Ken experienced his unfailing warmth and kindness. His discrete pastoral skills and love of people sat naturally alongside his professionalism. Over the last 20 years of his life he wrestled with serious illness. This highlighted another aspect of his character. He was a man of the most immense courage, continuing with an absolute commitment to his work, and sustaining an extraordinary pace of travel, for most of those years. He rarely spoke about his illness and he never complained, even when things were very difficult indeed. He would always say that three things sustained him: ‘Family, friends and faith’. Even though Ken retired from MtS in 2018, he was and remains an enormous inspiration and countless are those who will be touched by his death.

We give thanks for an extraordinary life and our thoughts and prayers are with Ken’s wife Jackie and their two sons, Michael, and David.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General of the Mission to Seafarers in London kindly provided material for this tribute. Ken Peters was well known for his exemplary work on seafarers’ welfare around the world.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


News continues below


Idle ships, featured with article on Sailors'Society in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

International maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society has launched a dedicated helpline for seafarers and their families.

The confidential, 24 hour service is there to offer support and welfare to those worried or adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sandra Welch, the charity’s COO and director of programme, said: “We’ve seen an increase in calls for help and advice of late and there’s a lot of uncertainty, so our new dedicated Covid-19 helpline is a welcome addition to our services.

“Many seafarers don’t know when they will sign-off and return home, others haven’t been able to start contracts due to lockdowns. They are worried about losing their income and anxious about loved ones – the toll on their mental health is apparent.

“We are also offering grants to help seafarers and their families whose incomes have been decimated through loss of work and would encourage those in need to get in touch.”

The helpline is a result of the charity’s Covid-19 emergency appeal, which has seen donations pour in from hundreds of individual supporters and shipping companies alike, including generous contributions from North P&I, Trinity House and West P&I.

Sandra continued: “We’ve had an incredible response to our ongoing Covid-19 emergency appeal and are so grateful for everyone’s support, but there is still so much to be done and the strain seafarers are under is ever increasing.”

With lockdowns ongoing in many countries, the charity has ensured a continued service by offering virtual chaplaincy and welfare support, with physical ship visiting only taking place where regulations allow.

Seafarers can access a suite of practical resources produced by Sailors’ Society including an advice hub, Facebook support group and podcasts to help seafarers during the coronavirus crisis.

Shipping companies have also contacted Sailors’ Society, known globally for its award-winning wellness at sea programme, asking for help in supporting crews through the pandemic.

Seafarers and their family members can contact Sailors’ Society’s dedicated helpline by calling +1-938-222-8181 or instant chat via

To access Sailors’ Society’s resources visit or to donate to the charity’s appeal visit

To talk about partnering with Sailors’ Society to help your crews email


News continues below


Loading containers direct from the ship onto internal (TPT) vehicles to go to the stack, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Loading containers direct from the ship onto internal (TPT) vehicles to go to the stack

A mandatory truck appointment system introduced at the Durban Container Terminal at the onset of the national lockdown, has resulted in a faster clearing of trucks at the port, says Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). This in turn has eased the Bayhead Road traffic, the terminal operator claims.

According to TPT, although DCT has a reduced operation in line with COVID-19 standard safety and prevention measures, the terminal is currently handling the same number of trucks handled during normal operating levels.

“When trucks converge at the terminal at the same time unannounced, many challenges are introduced into the system,” says KZN Containers Acting General Manager, Abubaker Badat.

He added that the appointment system was a process improvement initiative, which will continue to yield positive results post the national lockdown.

Durban Container Terminal scene, Pier 2, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban Container Terminal scene, Pier 2

“It is gratifying to observe our stakeholders benefit from the full implementation of the truck appointment system. Like any appointment, time and required resources are reserved for each truck and we are able to match demand with supply more efficiently,” said Badat.

Considered best practice in the container sector globally, a mandatory truck appointment system not only offers operational efficiency but financial value for both the terminal operator and the customer, since waiting times are reduced.

“We have in the past had trucks waiting for extended periods to be serviced. The use of the truck appointment system has enabled the terminal to control the rate of collections and deliveries, thereby ensuring optimal utilisation of landside capacity.

“While this process improvement initiative will yield further visible results when all road users gradually return to the new normal, parallel discussions hope to review, comprehensively, further improvements to operations at the ports and terminals. This will reduce inefficiencies in the long term.” Badat says.


News continues below


The now completed Terminal 3 of the Port of Tema, Ghana., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The now completed Terminal 3 of the Port of Tema, Ghana.

On 30 April 2020, Meridian Port Services Limited successfully completed the entire Phase 1 works of the Tema Port Expansion Project (also known as Terminal 3 of Tema Port).

As per the terms of the Concession, MPS Terminal 3 was expected to Go-Live on 28 June 2019 on 2 berths and the entire Phase 1 works were due to be completed on 28 June 2020.

Both due dates were successfully achieved and works were completed…[restrict] ahead of schedule. The combination of a great team work, solid project finance and determined shareholders were among the main contributors to the success in delivering this mega infrastructure ahead of the contractual date in 3.5 years (41 months).

The new harbour basin was created on a 3 km long beach directly on the Atlantic Ocean and right on the Meridian Timeline. Building into the sea, from the beach, the breakwater root goes 1,550m into the ocean with a 2 Km long arm extending eastwards from the root of the breakwater parallel to the quay wall.

Terminal 3 port plan, with the original port, Terminaal 1 and 2 at top right, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Terminal 3 port plan, with the original port, Terminaal 1 and 2 at top right

The 3,558 m long breakwater is harbouring a vast 450 Hectares (1,110 Acres) of maritime waterfront.

The new harbour basin is accessible through a 3,500 m long by 225 m wide Entrance Channel into a turning basin/circle of 500m diameter. The Access Channel has been dredged to -18.7m, Turning Basin to -17.4m and -16.9m by the quay wall to accommodate 16m draft vessels to dock alongside all berths.

Construction Manager, Mr Matthieu Ferraro, recapped the composition of the work done by the collaboration of all contractors and their associates which has resulted in a fully functional terminal.

The Phase 1 scope of works included building a 1,000 m long wharf which consists of 3 berths and 98 Hectares (242 Acres) terminal facility on land reclaimed from the sea with all drainage, sewage, water, fire, electrical and IT services.

Also included are 45 million paving blocks laid down, a 12 MW back-up power station, major facilities including administration buildings for MPS and the Authorities, a maintenance workshop, a 60 bay unstuffing shed for Customs, 6 scanners, several gate facilities, a fire plant, sewage treatment facilities and 1400 reefer container plugs.

“Today is truly a celebration of success, this edifice is evidence that when we put our minds to great things as a country we can achieve because we have a dynamic human resource base as a nation,” remarked Board Chairman of MPS, Dr Edmund Osei Tutu Prempeh.

“Each member of the team from the Management, Contractors to the Operations team have contributed massively to the completion of this edifice which is now being fully manned by local workforce. The responsibility of it living up to its expectation depends on the Operations Team, I have no doubt that they are squarely up to the task to complete our economic transformation to become a hub.”[/restrict]

The first ship to berth at Terminal 3 was Maersk Cape Coast, seen approaching the new quayside., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The first ship to berth at Terminal 3 was Maersk Cape Coast, seen approaching the new quayside


News continues below


Walvis Bay town and port, destination for long-distance truckers, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Walvis Bay town and port, destination for long-distance truckers

Cross-border truck drivers arriving in Walvis Bay, Namibia from this week face a mandatory seven-day period of quarantine, it is being reported.

The question of long-distance, cross-border truck drivers has become a contentious one, with African countries in the Southern, Eastern and Central African regions taking different stances. See our reports on this topic in previous issues.

Namibia, and the Port of Walvis Bay specifically, has been widely…[restrict] promoted as a gateway port into the wider region, with the Trans-Kalahari, Trans-Cunene and Trans-Caprivi Corridors all gaining increasing support in recent years.

Now, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been shown that some long-distance cross-border truckers are testing positive with the virus, leading to the respective countries taking steps aimed at preventing the further spread of the virus.

In Namibia transport sector and local residents have raised their concerns about the possible spread of the virus via the truckers, leading to the establishment of a compulsory quarantine station in the Walvis Bay industrial area, where truckers will have to wait out the period with immediate effect.

The quarantine station facility, walled-in by empty containers, was launched by the governor of the Erongo region, Neville Andre-Itope on land provided by BIP Container Terminal. This will serve as a screening point for cross border truck drivers transporting essential goods between Walvis Bay and other SADC countries.

The Walvis Bay Municipality has provided the necessary services such as toilets, water points and refuse removal while other stakeholders have undertaken to provide the truck drivers with additional necessities to ensure that they do not have to leave this area. Namport will ensure that caterers will be on site to provide food for the truckers.

“The Walvis Bay Corridor Group has provided a mobile clinic where the truck drivers will be screened, while the police force will look after the security aspect to ensure that everyone is safe and that there is proper control,” said Muronga Haingura, CEO of the Walvis Bay Municipality.[/restrict]


News continues below


Islamist terrorists pose with the weapons at Quissanga in April this year, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Islamist terrorists pose with their weapons and Daesh flag at Quissanga in April this year. Below, Mozambican Government forces  have rallied and gone of the offensive with success, according to reports

After several embarrassing incidents in which the Islamic insurgents operating in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique have shown up government security forces in a bad light, the Mozambique government forces have rallied and, suitably reinforced, have gone on an offensive against terrorist camps.

“Daesh (Islamic State) is, for the first time, being seriously challenged in Cabo Delgado,” Portuguese commentator Nuno Rogeiro told…[restrict] SIC television in Lisbon.

This is in response to recent attacks by the terror group which included routing the government forces in the harbour town of Mocímboa da Praia, who were forced to flee leaving behind a large amount of arms and ammunition for the insurgents to seize.

During their occupation of the town the terrorists looted shops and banks, distributed looted money and goods which was given to local townspeople and appeared to have adopted tactics of winning the local people over in support of the group.

Attacks were subsequently made on the town of Quissanga and the island of Quirimba, with locals forced to flee to the island of Ibo. A number of local people lost their lives.

According to Rogeiro in an interview in the latest edition of Leste a Oeste

, the terror group “is being defeated in many places.” He said the Mozambican forces have made use of drones and were assisted by Zimbabwean forces.

There are also reports of a South African ‘contractor’ providing aerial reconnaissance from the port town of Pemba.

The Islamic insurgents, who since October 2017 when they first appeared in the province, have killed a reported 900 Mozambicans and destroyed many houses and buildings across the region, are said to have Ugandan and Tanzanian commanders, but these, says Rogeiro, are now on the run.

Telecommunications restored

Mozambique Telecom, SA (Tmcel) has re-established fixed and mobile telecommunications in the districts of Quissanga, Ibo and the Quirimbas Archipelago, A Verdade is reporting.

This service became unavailable from 21 April.

The restoration of the satellite link in Mocímboa da Praia was scheduled for a few days later. Mocímboa da Praia and the more northerly harbour town of Palma are planned as harbour areas for the development of onshore and offshore LNG production. sources: AIM and A Verdade[/restrict]


News continues below


Jamestown Fishing Harbour, Accra, Ghana, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Jamestown Fishing Harbour, Accra, Ghana.  Picture: GPHA

One of the more drawn-out projects of harbour construction finally got underway this past week when the Ghana Government officially handed over the the site for the construction of the Jamestown Fishing Harbour to the Chinese engineers and contractors.

First conceived in 1965, it took until 5 December 2018 for President Nana Akufo Addo cut the first sod for its construction yet even then it has taken…[restrict] until now for the project to go into the hands of the Chinese contractor.

This was not the first sod busting ceremony held for the harbour under previous governments, but all previous attempts failed to get going for a variety of reasons.

This time we are assured it is for real. The construction of the fishing harbour in the Odododiodioo constituency of Greater Accra is expected to be completed in 32 months.

The President said the construction of the harbour is being made possible by a US$60 million grant by the Chinese Government, for which he thanked President Xi Jinping.

He expressed his confidence that the construction and subsequent completion of the harbour will “bring a lot of jobs to Jamestown, and it is going to promote a lot of trading activities here and beyond.”

Speaking during the latest ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Daniel Titus-Glover, said the modern fishing harbour would not only constitute the fish landing sites but also include cold store facilities, market areas and other social amenities to holistically improve the livelihoods of the constituents of Odododiodioo, and Ghana at large.

The photograph above gives an impression of the basic facilities currently in use.

“There was the need to look at, after the project is done, the storage of the fish, the processing of the fish, the marketing and distribution of the fish altogether. There is going to be a cold store, a market area and a crèche for children of these women who trade at the port,” Titus-Glover announced.

The minister called on the local community to cooperate with the authorities to ensure the successful completion of the project.

“I have appealed to them to cooperate with the contractors. We have a whole human resource of labour in the Odododiodioo Constituency so they should engage them,” he said.[/restrict]

Another view of the Jamestown Fishing Harbour. Picture: TripAdvisor, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Another view of the Jamestown Fishing Harbour. Picture: TripAdvisor


News continues below


Kenya Railways Corporation container block train, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenya Railways Corporation container block train

The railhead town of Naivasha has become the terminus for all cargo coming from Mombasa and destined for the neighbouring states of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, southern Ethiopia and eastern DRC. This is after the first SGR freight train arrived in Naivasha from Mombasa last week.

Naivasha is the most westerly point of the standard gauge railway (SGR) extending inland from the port of Mombasa. It is also the site of the Naivasha Inland Container Depot where all container cargo on the SGR will be discharged for collection.

The capacity of the inland container depot is two million tonnes annually and…[restrict] this will become a useful tool in reducing congestion at the Mombasa Container Terminals and at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot. It will also reduce the number of trucks operating on the road from Mombasa to Nairobi and Naivasha.

According to Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), all containers from the port will be transported along the SGR. The depot will provide for a seamless transshipment of goods to neighbouring countries, says Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.

The intention is that the depot will also assist in reducing the number of truck drivers testing positive for Covid-19, according to KRC acting managing director Philip Mainga. There has been considerable concern across the East Africa region about the number of cross-border truck drivers who test positive to the coronavirus.

Kenya Railways container train on the standard gauge railway, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenya Railways container train on the standard gauge railway

Meanwhile, some of the cargo arriving at Naivasha will go on to the Lake Victoria port city of Kisumu from where it will be shipped by ferry to Port Bell in Uganda.

Uganda Railways Corporation operations manager Abobeko Chaki says this will reduce the number of human movements across the two countries while improving the quality of service delivery.

Chaki was speaking at Port Bell following the arrival of the ship mv UHURU from Port Kisumu, with 800,000 litres of fuel as cargo.

“By using railway and water transport system, we will be able to transport up to 17 million litres of fuel at a go and reduce the number of trucks operating between the two countries and hence minimise the risk of spreading the Covid-19,” Chaki said. He pointed out that if the two ships were operational between Kisumu and Port Bell, over 500 trucks would be kept off the roads. source: Standard Digital[/restrict]


News continues below


Crude oil tanker New Vigorous. Picture: Vesselfinder, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
New Vigorous.   Picture: Vesselfinder

It is being reported that operators of supertankers are following the example of several container ship operators in using the longer Cape route, although in the case of the tankers, they are going the opposite way.

Whereas most container ships sailing from the Far East and South East Asia continue to use the shorter Suez route* in order to reach their destination as soon as possible, but then return to the east by going the longer way around South Africa, some 3,500 nautical miles further and requiring an additional five days of sailing, the tankers on the other hand are sailing from the Persian Gulf via the Cape.

This is much the same way the VLCC and ULCCs…[restrict] used to travel before the canal was deepened and widened.

The first reported tanker to undergo this longer voyage, the 318,506-dwt Hong Kong-flagged NEW VIGOROUS (IMO 9486518) departed from Saudi Arabia and completed the journey at a northern France port, delivering two million barrels of crude. The voyage is reported to have taken twice the time it would have by going through the canal.

At least two other large tankers are sailing via the Cape and more are possible.

Why go this longer route? One reason is to avoid having to pay the high costs of transiting the canal, another is that with record low prices of oil and the oil industry severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a glut across the world, ships are ‘taking their time’ before having to make their delivery, perhaps in the hope that prices may have risen in the interim.

On a few previous occasions when the price of oil fell to below normal figures, speculators used tankers as floating storage facilities, with the loaded vessels going on layby in various anchorages around the world, awaiting the time when prices returned to normality by when the speculator hoped to make a handsome profit.

There are also reports of tankers loading in the Mediterranean and sailing in the opposite direction of west-east around the Cape with the destination China or possibly Japan.

Suez Canal viewed from Space and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Suez Canal viewed from Space

* Because VLCC and ULCCs are too large to go through the Suez Canal while fully laden, an arrangement exists for them to lighten ship by discharging part of their cargo into a pipeline at southern end of the canal and reload once they have completed the transit.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) charges according to a formula involving the size of the vessel, the number of containers on board, how many are laden, and the ship’s routeing. A fully laden 20,000-TEU ship heading between Asia and Europe can expect to pay $700,000 in canal transit fees.

Given these numbers and as a result of the number of container ships diverting around the Cape, either direction, the SCA stands to have already lost revenue of more than US$10 million and growing as more ships divert. In response the SCAS has, as it did once before when carriers began diverting, offered discounts in transit fees. These range from 17% for ships involved in European trades, to 60%-75% for vessels returning to Asia from the east coast of North America.

Alphaliner research reveals that at least 20 sailings around the Cape have or are taking place, “a historic peace-time high”. Alphaliner called it “A unique combination of a container tonnage surplus and rock-bottom bunker prices has increasingly prompted ocean carriers to avoid the canal – and thus its fees.” It said that unusually, “even three westbound Asia-Europe headhaul sailings have opted for the Cape route, all operated by CMA CGM.”

This phenomena, Alphaliner suggests, is likely a result of the low bunker price and lack of demand in European markets, hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Container carriers involved in taking the route around the Cape include CMA CGM, MSC, Evergreen, ONE and COSCO.[/restrict]


News continues below


The Autonomous Port of Abidjan, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Autonomous Port of Abidjan

An ambitious US$993 million project of expanding the Cote d’Ivoire Port of Abidjan has been completed by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

The project which was commenced in 2017 includes the construction of three new container berths with deepwater alongside, a RoRo berth, a general cargo berth and appropriate channels to provide improved access and to assist in improving the cargo handling volume of Abidjan port.

Once the principal port of West Africa, Abidjan fell a little behind as other nearby ports were improved to enable the larger size new generation container and other ships coming into service.

The resultant project, the largest undertaken by CHEC and financed by the Chinese government through the Chinese Exim bank, has transformed the Ivory Coast port into one that can compete with any other in the West Africa zone and once again become the trade gateway for several landlocked neighbours.

Whereas the container terminal could previously handle ships with a maximum draught of 11.5 metres and container capacity of 3,500 TEU, new generation ships with a nominal capacity of 14,000 TEU (9,000 TEU filled) can now call.

To provide improved and safe access to the port the Vridi canal has been widened and deepened, with dredged soil utilised to fill a portion of the inner lagoon onto which the new terminal has spread. The new quayside consists of giant concrete blocks cast nearby and transported into position.

The old port of Abidjan was developed in the 1950s but in recent years became the victim of congestion and the rapidly increasing size of ships. At one time the port of Abidjan was one of the busiest in West Africa. Two years ago Abidjan handled about 20 million tons of cargo and with the latest improvements that volume is set to grow.

Video showing the development of the Autonomous Port of Abidjan. [3:00]


News continues below


Chacabuco, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Nigerian seafarers forced to remain with their ships due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, will be paid for their time, the National Seafarers Welfare Board (NSWB) says.

The assurance followed a discussion on national television involving the virtual appearance of seafarers and the chairman of NSWB, Kunle Folarin, in which the seafarers raised their concerns.

Folarin said the board was willing to…[restrict] provide assistance to Nigerian seafarers who find themselves ‘trapped’ on board vessels and unable to return home or any similar difficulty. They would receive payment for the additional days spent on board ship, he said.

Seafarers were the engine that propelled international trade and “Nigerian seafarers should receive remuneration comparable with their counterparts all over the world,” he said, adding that they had the right to escalate their concerns to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) when they were not dealt with properly.

He urged those seafarers who were victims of ill treatment in such matters to lodge complaints direct to the regulatory bodies.

The shutting of airports and land borders and the refusal of seaports to allow foreign seafarers to leave their ships by way of crew changes, has adversely affected a significant number of Nigerian seafarers abroad. Even in Nigerian ports shore passes are no longer issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service for fear of allowing seafarers who may have the COVID-19 virus to spread it ashore.

However, he said that in extreme cases such as a health crisis and with the recommendation of the Port Health authority, the evacuation of an affected person can always be arranged.

Folarin added that seafarers’ welfare had been the subject of a 2019 agreement involving the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) representing seafarers and ship owners.[/restrict]


News continues below


Total SA banner, displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

LNG production in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province came a step closer with the news that Total E&P Mozambique Limitada, a subsidiary of Total SA, has awarded a significant contract for its operation in Area 1, to US-based W-Industries.

The contract covers engineering, manufacturing, integration, automation and testing of the Onshore Subsea Equipment related to the development of the Golfinho subsea assets.

W-Industries will provide two Onshore Subsea…[restrict] Support Equipment Modules (OSSEMs) with integrated electrical and instrumentation buildings, subsea production hydraulic power unit, MEG injection system, methanol injection system, and an independent chemical injection skid with a fully integrated local process control and safety system.

“This project represents a significant milestone for W-Industries. Through the combination of our core products, advanced engineering capabilities and process automation expertise, we are able to deliver a fully integrated, turn-key module in support of the Mozambique LNG project,” said CEO of W-Industries, Donnie Smith.[/restrict]


News continues below



Oily pollution penetrating the V&A Waterfront harbour, apparently from the Robinson Dry Dock. This was taken on Saturday 9 May 2020
Oily pollution penetrating the V&A Waterfront harbour, apparently from the Robinson Dry Dock. This was taken on Saturday 9 May 2020

Reports of oily pollution pouring into the otherwise clean waters of the V&A Waterfront were reported on the morning of Saturday, 9 May 2020.

The pollution, which appears to be oil-based, was seen to be coming from the Robinson dry dock, which is in the Albert basin section of the harbour. The Robinson dry dock is currently occupied by the South African-flagged fishing vessel BORONIA (IMO: 8901547). Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Oily pollution penetrating the V&A Waterfront harbour, apparently from the Robinson Dry Dock. This was taken on Saturday 9 May 2020, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Scenes from outside the Robinson Dock, Saturday 9 May 2020


Oily pollution penetrating the V&A Waterfront harbour, apparently from the Robinson Dry Dock. This was taken on Saturday 9 May 2020, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The views across the waters at the Alfred Basin in the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 10 May 2020


Maersk Vilnius arriving in Durban on an earlier voyage. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Vilnius arriving in Durban on an earlier voyage.    Picture: Terry Hutson

In late April the Maersk Line container ship MAERSK VILNIUS, a regular caller in South African ports, experienced a fire in the engine room resulting in a power blackout. Vilnius was sailing in Caribbean waters at the time, en route from the Eastern United States for South African ports.

The crew were able to bring the fire under control but were forced to call for a tug to assist with a tow. ALP DEFENDER responded and has towed the container ship to Panama for repairs. During the tow the crew were able to restore power to a number of refrigerated containers but the full extent of any possible damage was not immediately available.

There were no injuries to the 22 crew on board Maersk Vilnius.

Maersk Vilnius under tow behind ALP Defender in the Caribbean. Picture by, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Vilnius under tow behind ALP Defender in the Caribbean. Picture by



SA Amandla delivering Ano Kato in Durban, seen in Esplanade Channel about to enter the Maydon Channel en route to the Bayhead repair quays, 8 May 2020. Picture: African Marine Solutions(AMSOL) / Facebook, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SA Amandla delivering Ano Kato in Durban, seen in Esplanade Channel about to enter the Maydon Channel en route to the Bayhead repair quays, 8 May 2020. Picture: African Marine Solutions(AMSOL) / Facebook

The South African salvage tug SA AMANDLA (IMO 7385215) made a quick visit to Durban from Cape Town this past week towing the general cargo ship ANO KATO (IMO 9043146) which experienced propulsion problems while in Pointe Noire requiring her to be towed to Durban for repair. After dropping her charge at Bayhead the powerful tug, owned and operated by AMSOL, has returned to the Cape where she is the standby rescue tug on the South African coast, another mission safely accomplished.


Marella Discovery arriving in Cape Town this past week. Long-distance Picture: Mel Hesse, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Marella Discovery arriving in Cape Town this past week. Long-distance Picture: Mel Hesse

If you thought South Africa had seen the last of the cruise ships then think again. This past week Marella Cruises’ ship MARELLA DISCOVERY arrived in Cape Town from the Seychelles to take bunkers and necessary supplies. As of Sunday morning 10 May she was berthed at the Cape Town tanker basin.

The 69,130-gt ship, the former Royal Caribbean Cruises ship Splendour of the Seas, sailed from the Mother City at 13h40 that same day with her next port of call showing as Las Palmas. Marella Discovery has been operating out of Malaysia in South East Asian waters for Marella Cruises, the ‘new’ name of Thomson Cruises, itself a division of the German operator TUI, which itself is a 50/50 joint venture with Royal Caribbean Cruises.

MSC Orchestra

In Durban the MSC Cruises vessel MSC ORCHESTRA entered port earlier to take up her usual berth on the T-Jetty for reasons not immediately clear but possibly related to maintenance requirements. The 92,409-gt, 294-metre long ship has since returned to anchor outside port at the Durban outer anchorage where she may well remain until the coming summer season unless restrictions on cruising are lifted earlier.

Other cruise ships on their way

Carnival Dream, one of the ships scvheduled to call in Algoa Bay for bunkers, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Dream, one of the ships scvheduled to call in Algoa Bay for bunkers

Several other cruise ships are reported to be heading to the offshore bunkering facilities in Algoa Bay, outside Port Elizabeth. These are Carnival Cruise ships, which are otherwise strangers to South Africa waters, but which are carrying crew back to Indonesia and the Philippines before going into layby in a secure area, possibly Manila Bay, to await the reopening of cruising. The ships listed in this exercise are CARNIVAL CONQUEST, CARNIVAL DREAM, CARNIAL ECSTASY, CARNIVAL FASCINATION and CARNIVAL LIBERTY.

These were initially shown as to be refueling at Durban, however that has since changed to Algoa Bay.

Nieuw Amsterdam

The Holland America cruise ship NIEUW AMSTERDAM on Sunday 10 May was another that was approaching the Port of Cape Town, coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.


A growing number of ONE ships are easily identified by their magenta colourscheme, which was inspired by the famous cherry blossoms of Japan. This is the 14,000-TEU ONE STORK. Picture: Ocean Network Express, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A growing number of ONE ships are easily identified by their magenta colourscheme, which was inspired by the famous cherry blossoms of Japan. This is the 14,000-TEU ONE STORK. Picture: Ocean Network Express

Ocean Network Express (ONE), the unified Japanese carrier consisting of NYK Line K Line and Mitsui OSK (MOU) Line, publishes a regular report on how they perceive the situation at the South African ports, which provides a useful guide to general conditions at the local port terminals.

ONE’s latest report is dated for 7 May 2020.

The report states that terminal operations continue without change to berth planning as follows: The Durban Container Terminal continues to maintain limited berthing delays whilst Cape Town and Ngqura with lower resource are variable 3-5 days delay. ONE said it remained hopeful that week effective Monday 11 May, Cape Town and Ngqura will have moved to full 3 berth operations, but said that berthing plans still do not reflect this and until this is confirmed it will be difficult to implement full CTOC berthing windows.

The berthing situation on 6 May was:

TERMINAL Berths Gangs
Cape Town Container Terminal 2 (3 from 11 May) 4-6
Cape Town Multipurpose Terminal 1 2
Ngqura Container Terminal 1 (3 from 11 May) 4
Port Elizabeth Container Terminal 1 3
Durban Pier 1 Container Terminal 2 5
Durban Pier 2 Container Terminal 3 (4) 10 (TBA)
Durban Multi-Purpose Terminal 1 2

Note – There can be variables to gang use dependent on specific vessel stowage.


Hout Bay Mariner's Wharf emporium, a victim of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has closed its doors, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hout Bay Mariner’s Wharf emporium, a victim of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has closed its doors

According to a report in Capeetc, the iconic Mariner’s Wharf at Hout Bay, a favourite of tourists and Capetonians alike, has closed as of 1 May 2020.

A statement issued by the Wharf management read: “South Africa’s first harbour front emporium, Mariner’s Wharf has made difficult decision to cease trading until the economy recovers. Despite having spent many weeks trying to find viable alternatives to overcoming the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, which continues to devastate the world, other factors were also taken into consideration and played a crucial role in this decision.

“These include the dramatic decline in tourism numbers as a result of water restrictions, power outages, poor service delivery from Council, riots, and declining fish resources, as well as issues relating to government leases on which the building stands.”

Mariner’s Wharf, which opened in 1984, is famous for its fish and chip bistro as well as several other businesses reliant on tourist trade.

The call to shut the attraction down, at least until the COVID-19 crisis permits a reopening, was made by founder and developer of Mariner’s Wharf, Stanley Dorman, according to Capeetc, who said the alternative could have led to a liquidation, with employees then receiving less than their full entitlements.

“Sadly therefore, we decided to draw a line to halt further expenditure and to mothball Mariner’s Wharf until our economy and international tourism recovers. “Thus, effective from this month, we will be retrenching employees, the exceptions being elements of essential services such as in our security and maintenance departments. Nonetheless the company intends guaranteeing affected staff full retrenchment packages, which will also take into consideration long-service, in many instances stretching back many years.”

Picturesque view across at Hout Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picturesque view across at Hout Bay



SAS Umhloti M1212 inside the Knysna Estuary on one of the navy's promised visits. Picture: Knysna Herald, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAS Umhloti M1212 inside the Knysna Estuary on one of the navy’s promised visits.   Picture: Knysna Herald

A report also in Capeetc states that the Knysna Estuary, once the scene of a busy harbour open to general shipping, is again filling with birdlife, in particular water birds. Among these are the African Oystercatcher and other birds considered vulnerable to disturbance.

The Knysna Estuary is recognised as a prime area of biodiversity significance.

The only (deepsea) shipping to call at Knysna currently, apart from the occasional ocean-going yacht, are the small ships of the SA Navy, which honour an assurance given that they would call at least once a year to the former port and naval station. The usual vessels to carry out this assurance has been the minesweepers from the mine counter-measure fleet.


News continues below

WOC and partners to survey ocean business community

image appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

UN Environment, South African Institute of International Affairs and World Ocean Council engage business, industry and other stakeholders in the Western Indian Ocean to advance marine ecosystem management

It was reported on 7 May that the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the World Ocean Council (WOC) are collaborating to conduct a survey on private sector practices and partnerships related to marine and coastal environmental topics and efforts in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO).

The Western Indian Ocean business survey can be found HERE

It is understood that this will be open for input until 22 May.

The survey will contribute to the development of a regional private sector engagement strategy for the Western Indian Ocean Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonization and Institutional Reforms (WIO LME SAPPHIRE) project. The SAPPHIRE project’s overall objective is to achieve effective long-term ecosystem management in the WIO’s Large Marine Ecosystems.

This survey addresses five key categories of stakeholder institutions in the WIO region:

* Private sector representative organizations (such as business chambers or industry associations), including small-scale / SME associations or networks.

* Individual private sector companies, including small scale / SME organisations.

* NGOs and relevant NGO initiatives.

* Regional and/or multilateral institutions and intergovernmental organizations (Regional Economic Community Secretariats, UN Agencies, Regional Fisheries Commissions, IUCN [1] for example).

* Research institutions, associations and networks (e.g. WIOMSA [2], KMFRI [3], TAFIRI [4]).

Ocean business and industry organisations are especially requested to both complete the survey and to disseminate it among their membership and encourage individual companies to respond to the survey.

For more information about the survey readers are invited to contact:
Alex Benkenstein
Programme Head, Governance of Africa’s Resources
South African Institute of International Affairs
Telephone +27 79 212 5251, +27 21 422 0717

The WOC – the Global Blue Economy Business and Investment Organization – works to develop ocean business leadership networks at the regional and national level around the world in order to foster and facilitate collaboration and action on ocean sustainable development. This includes ongoing efforts in the Western Indian Ocean region and with individual countries in and around the region.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

[1] The International Union for Conservation of Nature:

[2] Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association:

[3] Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute:

[4] Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute:

WOC logo, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news



News continues below


Imagew 7211 Cape Town ship repair, the synchrolift, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
TNPA Cape Town ship repair, the synchrolift

Transnet National Ports Authority says that all ship repair facilities owned and operated by the port authority are now operating at 100% capacity “in accordance with the agents’ docking schedule in the respective ports.

In a statement issued at the weekend, Acting Chief Harbour Master, Mr Sabelo Mdlalose said the two two components of the facilities, being the Dry-docks and the Engineering Workshops, will be accessible to…[restrict] agents subject to strict safety and precautionary measures as outlined in the new level-4 COVID-19 regulations.

“TNPA emphasises that all port users are expected to adhere to the standard COVID-19 screening process (temperature checks) on arrival,” he said.

“Further, employers are expected to conduct COVID-19 screening at their own sites.

“Mdlalose said that for those who will return to site, their workplaces will have to operate in a manner that complies with the additional safety measures required which include:

* Wearing of appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as prescribed by the regulations, which includes a face mask/screen and hand gloves where applicable.
* Possession of the Essential Services Permit together with the Port Access/ID Card.

“South African ship repair facilities are committed to providing services conforming to recognised best practices, regulatory rules and standards. Please continue to practice the basics of good hygiene and social (physical) distancing.”[/restrict]


News continues below


Research ship Djibloho. Picture: Baltic Shipping, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Research ship Djibloho. Picture: Baltic Shipping

Dryad Global reported on Saturday evening (SA time) the possible/probable boarding of a research ship in Luba anchorage, which may be the MV DJIBLOHO (IMO 8724494, 4502-gt).

The boarding and possible kidnapping of two Russian seafarers from the ship took place in position 03°28’03”N; 008°33’12”E on Saturday, 9 May 2020, time not available.

The 104-metre long, 16m wide vessel is…[restrict] owned and managed by the Equatorial Guinea Govt Marina in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea and flagged in that country.

This report remains unconfirmed at this stage. Dryad reports that across the last 48hrs there has been an increase in reporting concerning suspicious activity involving vessels reported to have acted in a suspicious manner. In another report a speedboat was sighted circling an offshore platform in waters off Mayumba, Gabon.

Vessels operating in this area are advised to maintain the highest levels of vigilance and to ensure the vessels are adequately hardened when required.

Updates on this report from Dryad may be expected.[/restrict]


News continues below


The bunker tanker Barbarica which is on duty with Bunker One in the US Gulf. Picture: Bunker One, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The bunker tanker Barbarica which is on duty with Bunker One in the US Gulf. Picture: Bunker One

Bunker One intends expanding its fleet across several regions including West Africa, the Caribbean and US Gulf.

The Danish bunker fuel supplier said this week Thursday the new expansions are a part of Bunker One’s overall strategy to increase its activities and investments around the globe.

“In a climate of uncertainty and tightening credit we are…[restrict] leveraging our strong liquidity and expanding our operational reach to meet our customers’ requirements,” said Peter Zachariassen, Bunker One’s Chief Executive Officer.

“The current downtrend in the market is not effecting our entrepreneurial spirit, and we continue to execute on our strategy for growth looking for more business opportunities at a global scale.”

It was only earlier this year that Bunker One established itself in West Africa. During the first months in the new market, the operation performed very well experiencing strong commitment from its customers and business partners.

As a result the company is now adding further to its portfolio of tankers by employing the 16,866-dwt bunker tanker vessel ENFORD (IMO 9475428), bringing the operating fleet in the region to three tankers.

With three fully equipped and fully operational tankers in the area, Bunker One will cover the major shipping lanes supplying vessels going East-West via the Horn in addition to the traffic in and around the West African Coast.

HSFO, VLSFO and MGO will be available on the full stretch of the African coast.

These additional high spec tankers are fully retrofitted as bunker vessels and perform with the highest standards of safety, according to Bunker One.[/restrict]


News continues below


IMO bannerfrlying in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Need for crew changeovers is of utmost urgency, says IMO
Urgent need for crew changeovers to support safe flow of commerce by sea
IMO and Industry highlight their appreciation for seafarers working throughout the pandemic.
150,000 seafarers are trapped at sea

The need for crew changeovers to take place is of the utmost urgency, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and shipping industry representatives said in London this week.

This was agreed by the UN’s International Maritime Organization and the shipping industry representatives taking part in a virtual IMO-industry meeting hosted at the IMO in London.

Many seafarers on board ships (and personnel in the offshore industry) have been…[restrict] on enforced extended contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic, with restrictions on travel making it difficult for crew to leave ships and for new crew to join ships. These extended stays on board could have significant repercussions for crew wellbeing as well as for ship operations, several NGOs said.

Representatives of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) highlighted their work in leading a call for “hub” airports and seaports to be established, so that crew changes could take place more easily.

Work is ongoing with governments, port authorities, health authorities and others to develop protocols for crew changes and crew movements. ICS said they estimated that 150,000 seafarers were trapped at sea and needed to change over as soon as possible.

IMO Secretary-General Lim and industry representatives highlighted their appreciation for seafarers working on the front line to keep trade of essential goods flowing during the pandemic. They reiterated the need for seafarers, port workers and related personnel to be designated as key workers.

The meeting was updated on ongoing collaborative work underway to address specific issues during the pandemic. IMO has been working with other UN agencies and bodies to issue joint guidance and statements, and to disseminate communications received from Member States detailing their arrangements for issues such as certificate extensions. These are available on the IMO website

The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) highlighted the efforts of IACS member surveyors to continue to certify ships for compliance with international treaty and class requirements, sometimes using techniques such as remote surveying where this was feasible. When surveyors do go on board, provision of personal protective equipment is critical.

There are legal questions over what happens when or if extensions of certificates need to go beyond the three months permitted extension in exceptional circumstances provided for under IMO treaties. The IMO Secretariat noted that this issue was under active consideration.

NGOs were invited to submit their views and updates on survey and certification, seafarer changeover and other concerns, including the prioritisation and rescheduling of IMO meetings to the forthcoming thirty-second Extraordinary Session of the IMO Council, which is being held by correspondence from May to mid-July.

IMO Secretary-General Lim pledged to continue to collaborate and cooperate – including diplomatic consultations with Member States – to tackle the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular to address the issues faced by seafarers.

The protocols for crew change and repatriation were drawn up by IMO; BIMCO; Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); International Association of Classification Societies (IACS): International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH); International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA); International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA); International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO): INTERFERRY; International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO); International Parcel Tanker Association (IPTA); International Transport Workers Federation (ITF); Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF); World Shipping Council (WSC).

IMO Trade banner flying in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news



News continues below


Spirit of Toft, NSRI Station 6 rescue craft. Picture: Dirk Erasmus - NSRI, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Spirit of Toft, NSRI Station 6 rescue craft. Picture: Dirk Erasmus – NSRI

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI Station 6 at Port Elizabeth was called into service this week to rendezvous with a bulk carrier that was sailing past South Africa, which reported having a seafarer in need of urgent medical attention.

As a result, at 13h00 on Thursday, 7 May the NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft and accompanied by an EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedic, set off the meet with the bulker and evacuate a 25 year old Myanmar sailor.

Justin Erasmus, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, reported that…[restrict] on the day previous the NSRI had been placed on alert after the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) advised that a bulker currently deep sea and passing the South African coastline, was diverting towards the coast as the seafarer was in need of urgent hospital care.

“Our NSRI sea rescue craft rendezvoused with the ship 10 nautical miles off-shore of Port Elizabeth and an NSRI rescue swimmer and the EMS rescue paramedic boarded the ship,” Erasmus said.

On board the paramedic took over care of the patient from the ships medical crew while the NSRI crewman set up a technical extrication platform which was used to transfer the patient onto the sea rescue craft.

Once this was achieved and the seafarer taken safely onto the rescue craft, the Spirit of Toft returned to the NSRI PE rescue base from where the patient was transported to hospital by EMS ambulance.

Erasmus said all Covid-19 precautions and protocols had been observed during the operation, which was concluded by 14h20.[/restrict]


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.



Thought for the week, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news




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