Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 31 May 2020


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

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Northern Debonair. Picture by Keith Betts

The Liberian-flagged, German-owned container ship with the rather jaunty name of NORTHERN DEBONAIR (IMO 9353228) enters the port of Durban earlier this year. Capable of carrying up to 3,554-TEU the 231 metre long, 32m wide ship is managed by V Ships of Hamburg. The 42,185-dwt Northern Debonair was built in 2007 at the Shanghai Shipyard in Shanghai, China.
This picture is by Keith Betts



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The offshore serviceug Pacific Dolphin which is headingfrom Cape Town to take up the tow of the tanker Yuan Hua Hu immobilised near Port St Johns. Picture: Fleetmon featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The offshore service tug Pacific Dolphin which is heading from Cape Town to take up the tow of the tanker Yuan Hua Hu immobilised near Port St Johns.   Picture: Fleetmon

The stricken Chinese VLCC crude oil tanker YUAN HUA HU (IMO 9723588, 308,663-dwt) remains at anchor in 35 metres of water just to the north of Port St Johns awaiting the arrival on Saturday of the salvage tug PACIFIC DOLPHIN. On standby at the scene is the Durban-based AMSOL tug SIYANDA which arrived last night and has since secured a cable to the stern of the immobilised tanker and taking up a static tow.

According to SAMSA the anchor and static tow are holding the tanker safely. Yuan Hua Hu was proceeding in ballast along the Wild Coast of South Africa, destination Kaombo…


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It is reported that an exporter requires an average of 9.5 days to get the necessary documents and stamps ready for shipping a container with citrus fruits out of South Africa. featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
It is reported that an exporter requires an average of 9.5 days to get the necessary documents and stamps ready for shipping a container with citrus fruits out of South Africa

Collaboration will offer greater ease of doing business across the supply chain. Manual, time-consuming administrative processes are replaced with digital procedures powered by Blockchain Technology

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has hastened moves to eliminate costly paperwork across the international shipping and logistic sectors and, seizing the moment, ports operator DP World announced on Thursday (28 May) that it has completed the early stages of integration with blockchain-based digital container logistics platform TradeLens, jointly developed by AP Moller-Maersk and IBM.

Saying that the collaboration between DP World and the TradeLens platform will help accelerate the digitisation of global supply chains, DP World says it aims to connect all its 82 marine and inland container terminals, as well as…


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– it must not neglect the continent now

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wooed African leaders at an investment summit in January 2020. Ben Stansall/PA Wire/The Conversation, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wooed African leaders at an investment summit in January 2020. Ben Stansall/PA Wire/The Conversation

Nicholas Westcott, SOAS, University of London

These are uncertain times, for Africa as much as for Britain. Will they prove each others’ friend in need? Or will circumstances pull the UK and African countries apart? It will all depend on what priority each gives to the other.

For many years following the independence of its former African colonies after the second world war, Britain continued to play an outsize role in African affairs – as an economic partner, a place of education and as a donor. Still, the failure to resolve Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 and Britain’s continuing close relations with apartheid South Africa soured the political relationship with the rest of Africa.

But links remained strong, and between 1992 and 2010, Britain had prime ministers who clearly cared about Africa and supported it politically, economically and internationally. Relations with Britain and the influential role of the Department for International Development (DFID), played a part in the “Africa Rising” narrative of the early 2000s.

Since 2010, the climate has changed. This seems strange, as on the face of it Britain’s policies have not. The UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on aid has been enshrined in legislation. The Commonwealth remains a central part of foreign policy. Britain has been active on international issues affecting Africa, such as climate change, terrorism, Somalia and piracy in the Gulf of Aden. It has also remained one of Africa’s biggest trade and investment partners, with imports of fruit, vegetables and flowers growing fast and major outward investments in oil, mining and telecoms on the continent.

Read more:
The Commonwealth and Britain: the trouble with ‘Empire 2.0’

Neglect and retreat

But many Africans I speak to, in all walks of life from Senegal to Kenya and Egypt to South Africa, see it differently. What they feel is political neglect and commercial retreat. British prime ministers have visited rarely, at least compared with those from China, France, Germany and the US. British Airways has pulled out of a number of African routes, the British Council has shrunk from culture into just English language teaching and British brands have disappeared with Land Rovers being replaced by Toyotas. Meanwhile, visas to visit the UK are ever more expensive and harder to get.

For the young African generation, Britain is seen as part of the past not the future. Many students tell me that for business they prefer to go to China, for education to the US, Canada or India, for fun to Dubai. For older Africans there is still an affection, even respect, especially for the Royal Family, the BBC and for London – but also a growing feeling of distance.

And many are puzzled by Brexit: why would Britain do this and make itself weaker? Still, many also see it as a golden opportunity to create a more balanced relationship between Britain and Africa – one that includes aid with fewer strings, more advantageous terms of trade, bigger investments, easier visas, cheaper education and, above all, more and higher-level political attention. Respect, in short.

Can Britain respond? The government of the former prime minister, Theresa May, made a useful start by recognising the problem, identifying five strategic shifts that would help reposition Britain on the continent, and visiting Africa to signal this change. Her speech in Cape Town in August 2019 raised hopes of a new start.

Her successor, Boris Johnson carried through on the first part of that plan, holding a well-attended UK-Africa Investment Summit in London in January 2020, and expanding Britain’s diplomatic footprint in Africa. The perpetually rotating position of the UK’s Africa minister has at last fallen to someone, in James Duddridge, who knows Africa well from a pre-politics career in finance.

Coronavirus crisis

Then came the coronavirus pandemic. The health impact in Africa is so far limited – thanks, not least, the swift response of African governments in locking down and preparing their people, who know well enough the perils of infectious diseases. But the economic impact has been immediate and dramatic. Export prices have fallen off a cliff and some exports, including flowers, stopped completely. Tourists have disappeared.

Remittances – normally three times the volume of aid – have fallen by 20-50% world wide, according to the World Bank. In some African countries, lockdowns and transport restrictions are making it harder for the poor to access food.

Read more:
Coronavirus pandemic could hit the billions migrant workers send home in cash

To reinforce its future partnership with the continent, Britain must step up as Africa’s friend in need. African governments need liquidity to replace lost revenue, debt relief to give them breathing space, as well as reinforcement for their health sectors and help with developing and disseminating a vaccine.

Britain has already provided £744 million to support debt relief and developing countries’ efforts to combat COVID-19, as well as to provide humanitarian aid and immediate budget support for cash-strapped governments. The government need not be shy of explaining why it is helping others even while Britons are struggling too.

That will help open the door, once Britain’s relations with the EU are defined, to mutually beneficial trade and investment agreements with African countries and relations with the continent. When the coronavirus passes, Africa is still likely to have the world’s fastest growing population and several of its fastest growing economies. Britain will need Africa as a partner, as much as vice versa. So now is the time to commit.The Conversation

Nicholas Westcott, Research Associate, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS, University of London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Xeneta banner displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

With the collapse in demand and glut of supply in the container vessel segment, analysts may have been fearing the worst for developments in long-term contracted ocean freight rates. However, despite the widespread ramifications of coronavirus, rates held comparatively steady for the month of May, with the latest XSI® Public Indices report from Xeneta registering a 1.2% decline.

This follows a 0.7% increase in April, leaving the index up 1.7% for 2020 so far. That said, the future, Xeneta cautions, remains defined by uncertainty.

TO read the rest of the Xeneta Rates Alert, please turn to our new TRADE NEWS section.


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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alec Kramer. (Released) 200525-N-CI012-0009 USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alec Kramer. (Released) 200525-N-CI012-0009 USN ©

USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat and played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, actively defending sea lanes from 1797 to 1855.

During the War of 1812, USS Constitution completed three major cruises across the Atlantic Ocean. Her mission was to protect American shipping, seize British shipping, and attack British naval forces where possible.

Designated America’s Ship of State, Constitution and her crew engage in community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the importance of naval power to more than 500,000 visitors each year.

For more information CLICK HERE

To visit:
USS Constitution Museum
Building 22
Charlestown Navy Yard
MA 02129

Mailing address:
USS Constitution Museum
PO Box 291812
Boston MA 02129-0215
Tel: +1 617 426 1812
Fax: +1 617 242 0496

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Holland America Line's Veendam, currently in Table Bay. image from YouTube, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Holland America Line’s Veendam, which is currently in Table Bay

At present eight cruise ships remain along the southern African coast or in port.

Five of these are from the Carnival Cruises company, two are Holland America ships (which is a division of the parent Carnival Corp), and the eighth is an MSC Cruises vessel. With the exception of the MSC ship the others are engaged in repatriating cruise industry staff back to their homes in India and South East Asia.

MSC Orchestra found herself trapped here in South Africa when the big lockdown internationally took place. The ship is mostly at anchor in the Durban outer anchorage, but currently is on a cruise to nowhere along the North Coast of KZN.

Three Carnival ships, Dream*, Liberty and Conquest remain in Algoa Bay to refuel at the offshore facility -this s achieved by way of small bunker tankers that couple with the bigger ships and transfer necessary fuels across. For obvious reasons this requires calm seas, which has been lacking since they arrived and possibly accounts for the time taken at the anchorage.

  • UPDATE Thursday 28 May – Carnival Dream has since entered the port of Ngqura (in Algoa Bay) and is berthed at the container terminal – possibly a signal she and the others may not be going to Durban.

Once bunkering is completed the ships are scheduled to move to Durban for ship supplies* although this could surely also have been handled while bunkering in Algoa Bay.

Another two Carnival ships, Fascination and Ecstasy have arrived off the Cape West Coast but unexpectedly Fascination sailed north as far as the Angolan border before returning south and going to anchor off Walvis Bay. Ecstasy remains north of St Helena Bay with her destination showing Port Elizabeth (Algoa Bay).

At Cape Town Holland America’s Zuiderdam has entered port to berth at the cruise terminal, while Veendam remains outside in Table Bay. Both ships are in Cape Town to bunker and take supplies.

Holland America Line's Zuiderdam now at the Cape Town cruise terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam, which is now at the Cape Town cruise terminal


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Engen Refinery Durban featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

You wouldn’t have thought it possible given the ongoing number of tankers lined up in the Durban outer anchorage on practically every day, nevertheless the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) says it can confirm that there is currently inadequate stock of diesel in the country.

Since the easing of lockdown…


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Freight forwarders call for extension to Brexit transition period

BIFA logo dislayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In the Financial Times of 26 May there was a quote from Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA). He indicated that the UK government is falling far short of a target to train an estimated 50,000 new customs agents that will be needed after Brexit and is misleading the public over its level of preparedness.

Following a survey of its members, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) reports that the majority of respondents believe that an extension to the transition period is desirable, if no trade deal is agreed by 31 December 2020 and UK trade with the EU is conducted on WTO terms.

The trade association BIFA representing companies on the front line in the management of the UK’s visible imports and exports conducted…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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How a post-COVID-19 revival could kickstart Africa’s free trade area

Africa’s dependency on commodity exports, including oil, makes it more vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19. Picture: Macauhub

Faizel Ismail, University of Cape Town

The African Continental Free Trade Area was launched two years ago at an African Union (AU) summit in Kigali. It was scheduled to be implemented from 1 July 2020. But this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of COVID-19 and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives.

Studies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and others state that the free trade area has the potential to increase growth, raise welfare and stimulate industrial development on the continent. But there are concerns. Some countries, particularly smaller and more vulnerable states, could be hurt. For example, they could suffer revenue losses and other negative effects from premature liberalisation.

The impact of COVID-19 will only worsen these structural weaknesses. The Economic Commission for Africa has reported that between 300,000 and 3.3 million people could lose their lives if appropriate measures are not taken. There are several reasons for this level of high risk. These include the fact that 56% of urban dwellings are in overcrowded slums, 71% of Africa’s workforce is informally employed and cannot work from home and 40% of children on the continent are undernourished.

Africa is also more vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 because it is highly dependent on imports for its medicinal and pharmaceutical products and on commodity exports. The latter include oil, which has suffered a severe collapse in price.

Other contributing factors are high public debt due to higher interest rate payments than Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, a weak fiscal tax base, and the negative impact on Africa’s currencies due to huge stimulus measures taken by OECD countries.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought these weaknesses into sharp relief. But it also provides an opportunity for African countries to address them. For example, they could accelerate intra-regional trade by focusing on the products of greatest need during the health crisis. Countries could also start building regional value chains to advance industrialisation, improve infrastructure and strengthen good governance and ethical leadership.

These are all vital to guiding African countries through the current crisis.

These goals can be achieved if African states adopt a “developmental regionalism” approach to trade integration. This would include fair trade, building regional value chains, cross-border investment in infrastructure and strengthening democratic governance.

Fair trade

A number of conditions need to be met for a free trade area to succeed.

Firstly, African states vary widely in size and economic development. As a result some may warrant special attention and specific treatment. In particular, among Africa’s 55 states 34 are classified by the United Nations as least developed countries. These are low income countries that have severe structural problems impeding their development.

Building trade agreements in favour of small and less developed economies will contribute to fairer outcomes of the free trade deal.

Secondly, African governments should include their stakeholders – businesses (both big and small), trade unions and civil society organisations – in the national consultation process. This will require effective institutions that enable the fullest participation.

Additional steps countries should take to cope with the fallout from COVID-19:

  • Reduce tariffs on vital pharmaceutical products (such as ventilators), personal protective equipment and food products;
  • Stimulate intra-regional trade by prioritising these products for an immediate or early phase down in the free trade area.

Building regional value chains

African countries are increasingly connected to the global economy, but tend to operate at the lowest rung of the ladder. They are mainly supplying raw materials and other low-value manufactured outputs.

Cooperation is needed between Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs and industries to improve their competitiveness in global markets. This would have a number of positive outcomes including:

  • triggering industrialisation, which will transform economies
  • helping African countries obtain a fairer share of the value derived from African commodities and labour, and
  • improving the lives of people on the continent.

The current crisis creates an opportunity for African countries to build value chains on medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment.

The clothing and textile sector could also be restructured to meet the needs of the health sector while taking advantage of the breakdown in supply chains from China and Europe.

As more countries lock down their economies and apply movement controls, agricultural and processed food supply chains are disrupted. This creates opportunities to build regional supply chains and partner with retailers.

There are also opportunities to build infrastructure to support the health response: hospitals, water and sanitation, schools, low-cost housing and alternative energy.

African countries can also benefit from the growing interest in environmental tourism.

Cross-border infrastructure investment

Since most African countries are less developed, and many are small, intra-regional trade will require them to cooperate to improve their infrastructure. This includes physical ports, roads and railways as well as customs procedures, port efficiency and reduction of roadblocks.

Progress is already being made. Examples include the Mombasa-Nairobi Corridor; the Addis to Djibouti road, rail and port connection; and the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, which handles more than two-thirds of West African trade.

Increased investment in these types of cross-border infrastructure projects will benefit regional integration.

Democracy and governance

Most African states have started accepting multi-party systems of governance. Many have also embraced a culture of constitutionalism, rule of law and human rights.

Democratic governance supported by active citizenship will create an environment of transparency and predictability that encourages domestic and foreign investment. Both are vital for growth and industrialisation. The process is also essential for the sustainability of regional economic integration and democracy in Africa.

Countries are becoming better at fulfilling their democratic obligations. For example, 40 African countries, including the Seychelles and Zimbabwe, voluntarily joined the African Peer Review Mechanism. The mechanism is a remarkable achievement that the free trade area agreement must build on.

The way forward

The free trade area could become a landmark in Africa’s journey towards peace, prosperity and integration. The COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding its devastating impact on the health and economies of Africa, could be an opportunity to advance the free trade area in a more developmental, inclusive and mutually beneficial way for African countries.The Conversation

Faizel Ismail, Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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COSCO Sao Paulo. Picture: Fleetmon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
COSCO Sao Paulo. Picture: Fleetmon

A fire on the COSCO SHIPPING Lines container ship, COSCO SÃO PAULO (IMO 9484388), has been brought under control at the Cape Town Container Terminal.

The 49,962-dwt container ship, built in 2013 and currently sailing under the flag of Hong Kong, was stationed at berth 602 when Port Control reported seeing smoke billowing from the cargo hold around 13h00 on Tuesday, 26 May. Smoke had also been seen earlier when the vessel arrived…


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Yuan Hua Hu. Picture Vesselfinder featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Yuan Hua Hu. Picture Vesselfinder
Yuan Hua Hu at anchor off the Wild Coast. Screenshot from the Facebook page of Spotted Grunter Resort, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape.
Yuan Hua Hu at anchor off the Wild Coast. Screenshot from the Facebook page of Spotted Grunter Resort, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape.

A 160,000-gt crude oil laden tanker is reported to have been disabled while sailing off the Wild Coast near Port St Johns and has gone to anchor a short distance from the coast.

No details of the loss of power or whether any tugs are hastening to the scene but we can identify the tanker fairly positively as the COSCO vessel YUAN HUA HU (IMO 9723588), built 2015. The tanker is 333 metres in length and 60m wide and has a draught of 11 metres and this vessel is at anchor off the coast near Port St Johns.

SAMSA says it will be issuing a statement later today (Wednesday).  Further details will be provided as they come to hand. 15h30 SA time

We can add further to the above that the Durban-based tug SMIT SIYANDA is on her way to the YUAN HUA HU.  The tanker is in ballast.

SAMSA Statement

Here is the SAMSA statement, issued late on Wednesday afternoon:

Distressed Crude Carrier off Port St Johns

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) is currently coordinating an emergency response to an immobilised large crude carrier, “YUAN HUA HU” offshore of the former Transkei Coastline.  The tanker is safely anchored one nautical mile  off Dome Bluff on the outskirts of Port St Johns and being monitored by the MRCC. The tanker is not carrying any cargo. All 27 crew on-board the casualty vessel is reported to be safe and no injuries have been reported.

The AMSOL tug “Siyanda” was deployed from Durban this morning at 05h40 and is expected to arrive on-scene at 20h00 tonight. She will act as the standby tug until the arrival of the emergency towing tug (ETV), which was deployed from Cape Town this morning with an experienced Salvage Master on-board. The ETV is due to arrive at the tanker within 48hrs.

NSRI Durban station 5, NSRI Port Edward station 32, NSRI Shelly Beach station 20, NSRI Rocky Bay station 39, NSRI East London station 7 and NSRI Port St Johns auxiliary station 28 were placed on alert by MRCC at 07h02 this morning, Wednesday, 27th May, and NSRI remains on high alert. NSRI rescue swimmers have also been placed on alert by MRCC.

A Durban Transnet National Ports Authority Helicopter will be on standby throughout the night.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment placed their Tier 1 Oil Pollution Response team and a Smit International Salvage team is on alert, ready to deploy from Cape Town.

SAMSA remains in direct communication with the vessel owner representatives and the master, who is providing their full cooperation to contain the threat to the South African coastline.


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Lowvelder YouTube video clip (accelerated) showing the Ressano Garcia side (Mozambique) of the Lebombo Border crossing [4:17]. A second  YouTube video below shows the road scene in the opposite direction

Truck drivers arriving at the border crossings between South Africa and Mozambique (Lebombo and Ressano Garcia respectively) face lengthy delays and considerable discomfort and inconvenience.

Mozambique regulations introduced because of the COVID-19 threat have made matters worse with drivers and crew forced to remain in their cabs on the roadside for as long as 48 hours or more before being permitted to enter South Africa.

Unless they are carrying food and water with them they will have nothing to drink in that time and will be forced to make impromptu toilet and other ablution arrangements.

One has to wonder whether the authorities who make these rules either know of the circumstances they have generated, or if they do, whether they care.

Most or many of the trucks are heading to or returning from the port at Maputo.

It has been suggested that the authorities, the police for example, could fairly easily arrange for parking space for the heavy vehicles, which take up the inner lane of the highway leading to the border crossing which allows other smaller vehicles to move past.

One of the causes of the delay lies with, ironically, the port health questionnaire with the public having to stand in the same lanes for passport and health control. The health conditions being created further along the highway aren’t seen as a problem.

Reports say the principal problem is when returning to South Africa. Freight companies say they are not allowed into Mozambique to take food to their trapped drivers on that side of the border.

Africa  PORTS & SHIPS can recall going on a roadshow through the Lebombo Border Crossing roughly 15-20 years ago and being shown a facility under preparation outside Komatipoort for a one-stop border crossing, with proper conveniences planned for long-distance truck drivers including showers and toilets, rest rooms, restaurants and ample parking space for the heavy vehicles.

It’s been a long wait since then and still no further progress.

Lowvelder video clip showing the queue at the SA side of the Lebombo Border Crossing between SA and Mozambique [2:08]


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Yacht Huff IV, designed by Uffa Fox, built in 1951 by John Tyrrell of Arklow, Ireland, based upon the highly successful Flying Fifteen dinghy and is believed to be the only Flying 30 remaining, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Yacht Huff IV, designed by Uffa Fox, built in 1951 by John Tyrrell of Arklow, Ireland, based upon the highly successful Flying Fifteen dinghy and is believed to be the only Flying 30 remaining

On 21 May the Transport Trust, the registered charity dedicated to the preservation of the UK’s transport past, announced that HRH The Princess Royal, is to become its new Royal Patron as the organisation is rebranded National Transport Trust (NTT) to reflect its growing and evolving nationwide role.

As the umbrella organisation for all forms of transport preservation in the UK, the NTT promotes, encourages and supports the nation’s transport legacy in all its many guises, while further developing its reach and links with preservationists, stakeholders and the general public throughout the land.

In the words of NTT Chief Executive Stuart Wilkinson: “We are delighted to welcome our new Royal Patron, The Princess Royal, who through her associations with the Worshipful Company of Carmen, Aerospace Bristol and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, among others, has excellent connections to the world of transport. In addition to greeting The Princess Royal, I would also like to pay tribute to HRH Prince Michael of Kent, whose participation as Royal Patron over the past 43 years has been instrumental in the development and success of our organisation.

“Today, NTT is the sole body representing the nation’s entire transport heritage in all its various guises – road, rail, water and air. The UK’s transport preservation movement comprises a diverse list of participants, ranging from major museums and trusts through to small societies and individuals. There is naturally a great geographical spread between these groups, and as we have evolved our involvement as a coordinating body has grown too.

“By forging links and building relationships we offer a common platform for all and provide a single point of contact for anyone seeking information, expertise or advice on any particular form of transport preservation.

“We also operate a number of schemes to promote and encourage our transport heritage, such as our Red Wheel programme which sees commemorative red plaques displayed at historic sites around the UK and as such are the transport equivalent of the country’s familiar blue plaques.

“We also recognise and reward achievement through our annual Restoration Awards, Preservationist of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award schemes, as well as provide short-term loans to assist with ongoing projects. With transport heritage an increasingly popular leisure activity – both for those involved and the public at large – we look forward to continuing our work and further developing the range of services we offer.”

Launch Ida has been restored and is understood to have belonged to Tim Birkin, one of the Bentley Boys who drove in the Le Mans 24 hour motor race from 1927 to 1930, featured in AfricaPORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Launch Ida has been restored and is understood to have belonged to Tim Birkin, one of the Bentley Boys who drove in the Le Mans 24 hour motor race from 1927 to 1930

The Transport Trust

Founded in 1965, the Transport Trust is the UK’s only national charity established to promote and encourage the preservation and restoration of Britain’s unique transport past in all its forms – by air, land (road and rail) and water (sea and inland).

The Trust is managed within a very streamlined structure, with the Board of Trustees representing the wider interests of the nation, for whose benefit the Trust exists.

Membership of the Trust is open to private individuals and affiliated organisations that share its aims.

For more information readers are invited to take a look HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway

National Trust, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


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Port of Tema, Terminal 3, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Tema, Terminal 3

Friday, 15 May 2020, was a red-letter day in performance when Meridian Port Service (MPS) Terminal 3 achieved a new record for Ghanaian ports – and which may cover most other aub-Saharan Africa ports – by exceeding the symbolic gross 100 moves per hour.

The container ship involved was the 13,100-TEU capacity MSC ALTAIR (IMO 9465277) which declared a total throughput of 4,334 TEUs to be discharged and loaded at Tema.

The terminal operations were completed with 3,290 crane moves in 29.5 hours, setting a new record of 111.4 moves per hour against 103.9 recorded in December 2019. This is the all-time record for Terminal 3 at Tema Port and certainly by far the best in West Africa, maybe even the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.[/restrict]

MSC Altair is one of the large container ships in a fleet deployed on a weekly service into Ghana called AFEX (African Express) following the successful completion of MPS Terminal 3 at Tema Port. Her length overall (LOA) is 366.46 metres, width 48.26 metres and deadweight 141,051 tons (dwt). The ship was built in 2012.

The first sailing for the MSC AFEX service was from Xingang in October involving MSC RAVENNA with total carrying capacity of 14,000 TEUs. The service connects Tema directly to several ports (Xingang – Busan – Gwangyang – Ningbo – Shanghai – Nansha – Shekou – Singapore – Colombo – Lomé – Tema – Durban – Port Louis – Colombo – Singapore – Xingang). This will not only offer faster transit time and better reliability in the West Africa region but also new business opportunities for clients between Far East, Oceania, Middle East, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Ghana.

In a statement after the record had bee set the Terminal 3 MPS Operations Management Team said they were proud to achieve this milestone with no incidents or accidents, respecting all safety protocols and for creating a worthy safety culture that safeguards all workers and company assets.

“Definitely, we are motivated and prepared for improving our productivity levels and taking on the next challenge,” the team vowed.[/restrict]

MSC Altair, record-brealing call at Tema Terminal 3, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Altair, record-brealing call at Tema Terminal 3


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e5 Consortium aims at zero-emission electric tanker, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
e5 Consortium aims at zero-emission electric tanker

The e5 Consortium, consisting of Asahi Tanker Co, Ltd, Idemitsu Kosan Co, Ltd, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co, Ltd, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Mitsubishi Corporation as been established with the purpose of establishing the world’s first zero-emission electric vessels.

Coastal shipping in Japan faces structural issues such as a shortage of mariners due to the ageing of the seagoing workforce, not to mention… TO read the rest of this article and see the video turn to our new TRADE NEWS section, the link is HERE


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IALA’s Members work to ensure the safety of navigation

Perigee Light Vessel. India West Coast, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Khambhat, (Cambray). Position 21°41.50ʹN:72°18.37ʹE Anchored in the shallow waters off the Bhavnagar coast in Gujarat. Photo: ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Perigee Light Vessel. India West Coast, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Khambhat, (Cambray). Position 21°41.50ʹN:72°18.37ʹE Anchored in the shallow waters off the Bhavnagar coast in Gujarat. Photo: ©

As the world continues to be in quarantine, provision of aids to navigation are essential services vital for the safety of marine navigation and the continuous flow of trade be it food, fuel and medical supplies, along with the many other commodities and raw materials upon which we all depend daily.

IALA’s (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities), – see: – national members, who provide aids to navigation services, as well as…

Collated by Paul Ridgway


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The sight of three large cruise ships at anchor out in Algoa Bay caught many people in Port Elizabeth by surprise on Monday.

Carnival Conquest, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Conquest
Carnival Dream featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Dream
Carnival Liberty in Algoa Bay today, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Liberty

They were three of the five Carnival Cruise line ships calling in South Africa to refuel and disembark a small number of South Africans, before continuing their voyages to India and South East Asia.

At the time of reporting the other two Carnival ships, Fascination and Ecstasy, are in the South Atlantic, having mysteriously altered course to a position well to the north of Walvis Bay.

If all continues to plan the three ships currently (Monday afternoon) in Algoa Bay, Dream, Conquest and Liberty will refuel from the bunker tankers operating offshore in Algoa Bay, before proceeding north to Durban where they will restock necessary supplies, while the South Africans on board will be able to disembark.

Those on board the ships are not passengers but staff previously employed by the Carnival and associated companies, who now find themselves unable to work due to the global shutting down of the cruise industry. Carnival was faced with having to repatriate nearly 26,000 such personnel, many of them to India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The obvious way is the use their ships, each with passenger capacity of several thousand and accommodation for another 1000 or so crew, and sail them home, as air travel has also been largely curtailed. Twelve such cruise ships have been deployed, with five calling in South Africa.

The stream of these cruise ships arriving, long after a curtailing on further cruise ship arrivals, is the result of the humanitarian response of enabling the return of cruise ship staff to their countries and families.

SAMSA said that any local crew disembarking would be subjected to the local COVID-19 regulations and will undergo quarantine for 14 days before they can join their families.


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The Port of Mossel Bay is designed not unlike a smaller version of Port Elizabeth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Port of Mossel Bay is designed not unlike a smaller version of Port Elizabeth

From the commencement of the national lockdown on 27 March 2020, South Africa’s smallest port, Mossel Bay, has continued to play a critical role in the provision of essential services, in particular in the fishing and oil and gas sectors.

Despite the uncertain times, the port has successfully handled seven liquid bulk vessels collectively carrying…


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Port of Takoradi with the old oil jetty to the left of the port. This area is to be developed for the new MPT, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Takoradi with the old oil jetty to the left of the port. This area is to be developed for the new MPT

A US$56 million oil jetty, built out into the harbour at the Port of Takoradi in Ghana, is nearing completion.

When in operation by the firm of Marshall Oil Services, who holds a concession with the developer Ibistek Ghana Limited and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), the new jetty will replace a smaller older jetty which…


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Based at the Port of Richards Bay, Nosipho Citi is the first person to serve as a Vessel Control Profiler within TNPA., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Based at the Port of Richards Bay, Nosipho Citi is the first person to serve as a Vessel Control Profiler within TNPA

The new position of Vessel Control Profiler was created within Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Port of Richards Bay is piloting this innovation.

Appointed to this new role in November 2019 is former policewoman, Nosipho Citi, who almost didn’t get her application submitted in time. She says there was just one minute left on the clock when she applied (electronically) for the job that would change her career path.

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid spread of the virus resulted in TNPA becoming aware of possible high risk ships coming into port. Her job now requires that she liaises with security organisations regarding vessels to ascertain if adequate security measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

She is also required to process Outer Port Limit applications to ensure that these meet the same high security standards as those adopted along the quayside.

“I am still doing my job as originally intended, with a slight change due to the amendment in the MARSEC* Security Level from Level 1 to Level 2. In essence, it is a higher level of security with many more restrictions on movement.

She said she now forms part of screening and record-keeping of all persons boarding vessels, as well as keeping track of gangway registers and Declarations of Security – an agreement between port and vessel security which ensures all health and safety precautions have been adhered to.

These interventions were required early on during the national lockdown period.

“TNPA put an operational plan into place which allowed our security department to identify high risk individuals,” she says. “Within a few hours of implementation, there was a breach and the various port security sectors were able to find the individual and have them safely removed from the port.

“I was really appreciative to experience TNPA Security OPS, Vessel Profiling, Permit Office and the CCTV Control Room working together to achieve a positive outcome.”

Multi faceted

The role of a Vessel Clearance Profiler is multi-faceted. In addition to serving as a liaison between the port and vessel agents to ensure that all vessels passing through the Port of Richards Bay are cleared to enter as per detailed company procedure and required legislation, Citi’s duties include working closely with Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and the Marine Security Co-ordination Centre (MSCC).

Her role involves staying abreast of international legislation surrounding international issues such as terrorism, human trafficking, smuggling, stowaway movements as well as nuclear and weapons of mass destruction – something she explains is both challenging and rewarding.

Vessel profiling

“Vessel profiling is interesting in that it requires the processing of lots of data gleaned from various sources, both overt and confidential in some cases. The profiler must be able to identify possible threats, which could be imported into the port from a particular country, port or vessel. At the moment, I am creating databases which will aid future analysis and identify trends that will ensure the safety of our port,” she said.

* MARSEC, from the US Coast Guard’s MARitime SECurity is a three-tiered USCG Maritime Security-designed system of assessing and communicating possible terrorist activity within the maritime sector.


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SGR container train heading to Naivasha. Picture: KR, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenya Railways SGR container train heading to Naivasha. Picture: KR

The date of 1 June has been set by when all transit cargo must move by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) between the port of Mombasa and the inland depot at Naivasha.

This ruling, announced by Kenya’s Minister of Transport, James Macharia, confirms earlier reports of this move. It effectively cuts off 600 kilometres from the distance transit truck drivers have to travel when inside Kenya and involving cargo for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DRC and South Sudan.

Once the cargo reaches Naivasha from Mombasa, shippers have…


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The 16,022 TEU capacity CMA CGM Alexander Von Humbolt set the tone for recent container ships to go round the Cape instead of through the Suez canal. This was in late March this year and since then at least 20 container ships are reported to have followed this route. This picture courtesy Wikipedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The 16,022 TEU capacity CMA CGM Alexander Von Humbolt set the tone for recent container ships to go round the Cape instead of through the Suez canal. This was in late March this year and since then at least 20 container ships are reported to have followed this route. This picture courtesy Wikipedia Commons

The idea of some container lines of taking the long route to and from the Far East to Europe has received a negative response from Dutch-headquartered international furniture and home appliance group and shipper IKEA.

See related news report Tankers join the container ships going via the Cape

IKEA says it will make use of container lines that…


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Carnival Fascination, cruising towards South Africa, fgeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Fascination, cruising towards South Africa


Long after the date when cruise ships would ordinarily have left our shores, the passenger vessels continue to arrive, with this coming week proving to be one of the busiest. As this report is being written early on Sunday evening, the port or anchorages of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban have cruise ships either present or facing the arrival of vessels already on the coast or approaching from deep sea.

The reason why these ships remain active is a result of thousands of crew and workers involved with the cruise industry who find themselves out of work and unable to return home. Carnival Cruises alone has almost 26,000 crew members who need to be repatriated.

The only choices are for charter flights, which are expensive and limited in their capacity, or to utilise some of the cruise fleets to move these employees halfway across the world back to their homes and families.

Two cruise companies so engaged and on our shore are Holland America and a newcomer to these sealanes, Carnival Cruises. On Sunday evening we find Holland America’s VEENDAM and ZUIDERDAM at anchor in Table Bay opposite Milnerton, awaiting a berth in Cape Town before continuing their way to the east in the paths of another company ship, ROTTERDAM and associated company Princess Cruises’ ISLAND PRINCESS.

The second cruise company whose ships mostly operate in North American and Caribbean waters, is Carnival Cruises, whose parent company happens to be the biggest cruise company and owner of a number of individual lines including Carnival Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Cunard, Costa Cruises, Seabourn, P&O (Australia), P&O Cruises (UK), and AIDA Cruises.

Apart from the movement of the Holland America and Princess line ships, Carnival Cruises has despatched 12 ships to move crew and workers to their homes across the world. Five of these are calling in South Africa this week, with one, CARNIVAL DREAM already taking bunkers offshore in Algoa Bay and two others, CARNIVAL LIBERTY and CARNIVAL CONQUEST, motoring along the Cape south coast and closing in on Algoa Bay for the same purpose.

The final two, CARNIVAL FASCINATION and CARNIVAL ECSTASY are approaching the Cape from the South Atlantic in the wake of their three Carnival sisters. All will stop in Algoa Bay to load bunker fuel ahead of the long journey across the Indian Ocean, but first will call at Durban to take supplies from the ship chandler.

With Carnival Dream already at Algoa Bay and Liberty and Conquest about a day behind, their arrivals off Durban appear likely between midweek onwards. At present these ships with their distinctive red, white and blue funnels not unlike a T-Tail on an aircraft, are booked down for O and O/P berths on the T-Jetty, facing the Esplanade.

Oh yes, that’s right, we’re all in lockdown so where they berth doesn’t matter!

Carnival LIberty, now off the Cape south coast approaching Algoa Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival LIberty, now off the Cape south coast approaching Algoa Bay


Transnet’s Acting Chief Harbour Master, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose said in a statement issued at the weekend that the banning of cruise ship operations at a number of ports globally as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak has left the cruise industry in limbo.

“These vessels would have disembarked passengers several weeks ago elsewhere and their crews have had to remain on board for an extended period as the ships make their way across the globe,” Mdlalose said.

“As the port landlord, TNPA works closely with the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority to ensure the safety and security of shipping, as is required by any signatory of the International Maritime Organization. This means we have a duty to assist ships requiring essential services like bunkering and replenishment of supplies, as this becomes an issue of safety of life at sea.

“However, we ensure that all safety precautions are taken and that a risk assessment is conducted for each vessel by the Joint Operations Centre at each port.” He added that the vessels have been at sea for a 14-day quarantine period before docking in South Africa, and any disembarking individuals will go into quarantine when they come ashore.

Meanwhile, Durban’s Acting Harbour Master, Captain Justin Adams, confirmed that the Port of Durban will this week see five Carnival Cruise ships calling. He said the five ships will be refueling and restocking inventory to meet their daily operational requirements.

He said according to information Carnival Fascination is taking crew back to Mumbai, India, and Durban, South Africa; Carnival Dream Is sailing to east Asia with stops in Durban, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines; Carnival Liberty is also sailing to Durban and Mumbai; Carnival Conquest is sailing to east Asia with stops in Durban and Manila, and Carnival Ecstasy is also sailing to Mumbai, with a stop in Durban.



The Port of Lüderitz, picturesque and now on offer as safe haven for cruise ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Port of Lüderitz, picturesque and now on offer as a safe haven for cruise ships

Namport says it is considering requests to accommodate empty cruise ships at anchorage off the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz .

According to the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) the turn of events involving the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for Namport to provide berthing/parking space for the empty cruise ships off the two ports at designated points of anchorage.

“Having conducted detailed reviews of procedures to be put in place in hosting the said ships, we have concluded that the move would neither contradict nor contravene any of the existing measures implemented nationally to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 suffice to say all existing COVID-19 mitigation,” the company said in a statement.

“The cruise ships will join offshore supply vessels and oil rigs which, as a result of the fall in oil prices, have also been recalled from the oil fields and are being safely stored at anchorage at the port of Walvis Bay.

“Measures by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Namport will be strictly complied with when dealing with such passenger vessels at anchorage. We therefore kindly request and urge members of the public not to panic when they see these vessels at anchorage either and or off the ports of Lüderitz and Walvis Bay.”

Asked whether any cruise ships were lining up to idle off Walvis Bay or Lüderitz, we were told that several enquiries had been made.



Port of Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, North Quay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, North Quay

This update issued by Ocean Network Express (ONE), the unified Japanese carrier consisting of NYK Line, K Line and Mitsui OSK (MOU) Line, reflects their experience of the South African port terminals as it was on 20/21 May 2020.

Durban and Coega/Port Elizabeth terminals continue to perform well with no significant delays. Durban has increased resources with an increase in crane capacity. Cape Town Container Terminal continues with reduced resources and no night shifts. Berthing delays continue to average 6.5 days, ONE reported.

On 20 May this was how ONE reported the terminal situation:

The berthing situation on 20 May was:

TERMINAL Berths Gangs
Cape Town Container Terminal 3 3-4, 16-hour total shift time)
Cape Town Multipurpose Terminal 1 2
Ngqura Container Terminal 2 4-5
Port Elizabeth Container Terminal 1 3
Durban Pier 1 Container Terminal 2 5, (one training)
Durban Pier 2 Container Terminal 4 13 (one training)
Durban Multi-Purpose Terminal 2 2 (one crane destroyed in fire – AP&S)



Montpellier, now in quarantine outside the port of Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Montpellier, now in coronavirus quarantine outside the port of Durban. Picture: Fleetmon

The number of ships at anchor outside the Port of Durban seems to hover around 35 – 40 on most days, with products size tankers being in the majority. On Sunday evening, 24 May the Port of Durban has 26 ships working cargo or on berths inside the port, excluding ship repair berths and service vessels, dredgers etc. At anchor outside port in the anchorage were 40 vessels.

Among those outside were one cruise ship, MSC ORCHESTRA which is on layby awaiting the lifting of cruise restrictions, and a container ship, Hapag-Lloyd’s MONTPELLIER which is on a 14-day enforced quarantine after two seafarers on board tested positive for the coronavirus – see that report by CLICKING HERE

In addition to the reports above, our own observations based on 21 May saw a mere five ship movements recorded at the port of Durban – three sailings (two bulk carriers OKTEM AKSOY & PPS TOMO and one chemical tanker AMBER II) and two arrivals (a container ship MSC Michela and one foreign fishing vessel Franivan). It was a quiet day.


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Head Quarters Ship (HQS) Wellington of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. She is berthed on the Thames, by Temple Underground station, not far from The Strand, the Law Courts (and the Inns of Court of the legal profession) and Fleet Street where the nation’s newspapers were printed. Wellington, built in 1934 was commissioned as HQS in London in 1948. For more information see:, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Head Quarters Ship (HQS) Wellington of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. She is berthed on the Thames, by Temple Underground station, not far from The Strand, the Law Courts (and the Inns of Court of the legal profession) and Fleet Street where the nation’s newspapers were printed. Wellington, built in 1934 was commissioned as HQS in London in 1948. For more information see:

Election of new Master – Captain Derek Chadburn

Commodore Angus Menzies RN, Clerk to the Honourable Company of Master Mariners* reports that The Master for 2020/2021 is Captain Derek Chadburn.

He was installed on 1 May 2020.

Captain Derek Chadburn was born in March 1951 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and attended Leeds Central High School.

He joined Houlder Brothers & Co as an Apprentice in 1968, and served in all ranks to Chief Officer serving in a variety of vessel types: ore carriers, oil tankers, general cargo vessels (both liner and tramps), refrigerated cargo vessel and gas tankers (both fully refrigerated and semi-pressure, semi-refrigerated).

In 1980 he obtained his Master Mariner (FG) Certificate then joined Geophysical Services International as Chief Officer and gained command the following year.

Captain Chadburn

In 1981 he moved in to education at Hull Nautical College a part of the then Humberside College of Higher Education. The organisation went through various stages of development finally becoming the University of Lincoln in 1996.

With the demise of Nautical Education in Hull, Derek moved to the Business School and having obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (Shipping) and an MSc in Management Studies became Principal Lecturer in Corporate Strategy, also taught Human Resource Management.

He taught in the Business School and also overseas in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong as well as designing and implementing joint undergraduate programmes with universities in New Zealand and Australia.

While in Hull he undertook a number of consultancy projects including formation of Humberside Offshore Training Association (HOTA) and worked for the (UK) Overseas Development Administration in Lithuania on the restructuring of the Lithuanian Fishing Fleet. In 2000 was appointed to head the international office before leaving the University in 2005 to become HR Manager for a logistics company based in Grimsby.

Derek Chadburn joined the Honourable Company of Master Mariners in 2006 and became a Liveryman in 2014. Was elected to the Court of Assistants in 2014 and elected as Warden in 2016.

He served as Honorary Secretary of the North East Outport from 2007 until 2017 and has mentored a number of Apprentices of the Honourable Company and continues to do so.

Since 2016 Derek has been acting as a mentor to the Logistics Academy at Franklin 6th Form College in Grimsby as well as serving on the Advisory Board.

Derek has been married to Christine for 42 years and has two daughters, two granddaughters and two grandsons. He is a qualified cricket umpire and officiates in the York and District Senior Cricket League and is said to be a long suffering season ticket holder of Leeds United FC, “The Whites”.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

* Formed in 1926 Formed in 1926 with aims to:

* Encourage and maintain a high and honourable standard of ability and professional conduct in the officers of the British Merchant Navy

* Promote and maintain in all respects efficient and friendly co-operation between the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy

* Be available for advice and consultation on all questions concerning or affecting the Merchant Navy, or judicial, commercial, scientific, educational or technical matters.

HM The Queen is Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets and the Admiral is HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.


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An aerial view of Lagos sea port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
An aerial view of Apapa port in Lagos

Restrictions and the lockdown regulations across Nigeria have brought blockages and added congestion to the country’s seaports, according to reports received.

One report quoted Tony Nwabunike, president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, as saying the ports are jammed because a lot of cargo is not being cleared. He said access to the ports was…


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Deepsea Stavanger passing Cape Town during her previous visit to South Africa to drill successfully for gas condensate in the Brulpadda Field of the Outenique Basin, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Deepsea Stavanger passing Cape Town during her previous visit to South Africa to drill successfully for gas condensate in the Brulpadda Field of the Outenique Basin

The semi-submersible DEEPSEA STAVANGER which is contracted to TOTAL South Africa to continue with further drilling of the gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda Field in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa, will remain in Norwegian waters prior to the mobilisation of the rig.

In a statement Odfjell Drilling, which owns the rig, said…


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Joint ICS / ITUC / ITF communication

Message to UN and otherbodiesregarding the plight of seafarers trapped on board their ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIP maritime news

The UN Secretary General has been urged by global industrial and shipping leaders to persuade his 193 member states to act urgently to avoid a humanitarian crisis, with over 200,000 tired, mentally-stretched seafarers currently stuck working on vessels across the globe and unable to be relieved of their duties.

In a joint letter to António Guterres, the leaders of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), urged the Secretary-General to ensure governments were adopting the 12-step set of protocols issued by the UN’s own maritime regulator, the IMO.

The letter published on 22 May explained that: “There are now over 200,000 seafarers onboard vessels worldwide who have completed their contractual tour of duty, but have been prevented from returning home. Many of these seafarers will be experiencing adverse effects on their mental health and reduced ability to safely perform their roles in the face of increasing fatigue.

“Additionally, stringent restrictions imposed by many countries, including denial of shore leave and access to essential medical assistance, is contributing to fatigue and exhaustion. We are concerned about suicide and self-harm amongst this vulnerable population of workers.”

The letter highlighted the responsibility of governments to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in which states have a duty to protect human rights that are ‘built on the fundamental obligation of governments to protect rights-holders, which applies both under normal circumstances and at times of crisis.’

While there has been engagement from some national governments, taking positive steps such as by designating seafarers essential workers. This provides a blueprint for other nations on what steps can be taken to resolve this issue.

As thousands of seafarers face exhaustion at the helm of critical supply routes, the clock is ticking for governments.

The industry had previously agreed with workers’ representatives to two contract extensions beyond the usual regulated period for time onboard due to Covid-19, the leaders say this is ‘not a sustainable solution’.

As the joint statement says: “Time is running out. We ask action be taken immediately, ahead of 16 June 2020 – the final agreed deadline to implement crew changes for our seafarers.”

Here are quotes attributable to Steve Cotton, General Secretary – International Transport Workers’ Federation

“There are 200,000 seafarers out there right now desperate to get home to their own beds, see their families and hug their kids. They’ve been stuck on these ships, keeping global trade running since this pandemic blew up. Enough is enough – they have earned their ticket home. Now governments must make that happen.

“It’s time for governments to open their hearts, and open their borders, to the world’s seafarers. The alternative is exhausted crews and the shutting down of global trade. The world can’t afford that.”

Quotes attributable to Guy Platten, Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)

“We have addressed the letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres to signal the seriousness of this situation. Seafarers have stepped up to keep countries supplied. We now need governments to recognise this commitment by facilitating crew change for these key workers.

“Since the onset of the crisis, the well-being and safety of our seafarers has been our number one priority. While progress has been made, and limited numbers of crew changes have occurred, there is a pressing need to increase the speed and scale at which national governments adopt the crew change protocols.

“Every day that governments fail to adopt these protocols, and fail to enable crew changes, they neglect to recognise the sacrifice made by seafarers on behalf of their populations.’

Background on crew change

As travel restrictions swept across global economies, trade continued thanks to seafarers onboard ships across the world. This commitment to keeping supplies of food, fuel and goods, including vital medical supplies, has enabled governments to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic in their countries. What stopped however, was the ability of nation states to allow crews to safely rotate on and off ships at ports and return home to their countries of origin.

Having identified crew change as the most significant threat facing supply chains at the onset of the crisis, the shipping industry converged to produce a set of globally applicable protocols for national governments.

Of the signatories

Member companies of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) operate over 80% of the world’s merchant tonnage

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) represents around 250 million workers around the world

Paul Ridgway, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

Naval News

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