Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 21 June 2020

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002
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Come with us as we report through 2020



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MSC Corinna Picture: Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC Corinna Picture: Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC Corinna Picture: Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Corinna Picture: Alan Calvert

Apart from the general attractiveness of the setting, what is of strong interest in these pictures showing the container ship, MSC CORINNA (IMO 9307267) arriving along the channel leading to the port of Lyttelton in New Zealand, is the scrubber fitted behind the smokestack, bridge and accommodation block. Photographer Alan Calvert described the scene by saying that as the ship arrived along the channel she emitted what looked like smoke signals which instead turned out to be steam. Despite the sunshine it was a cold day after a heavy frost in the morning. “One of the cleanest operating scrubbers I have seen,” he said.

MSC Corinna was built in 2006 by STX Shipbuilding at their Jinhae yard. The 27,469-gt, 210-metre long, 30m wide container ship was originally named JPO Sagittarius until 2006 when she came under the ownership and management of MSC, who renamed her MSC Corinna. These pictures are by Alan Calvert



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Port statistics for the month of May 2020, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Details of the port throughputs, ships berthed and container volumes handled can be seen in the Tables below.

Statistics involving motor vehicles are also included, per port and measured in vehicle units. These include imports and exports, earth-moving and other ro-ro or wheeled vehicles.

The effects of the countrywide lockdown as it concerns the nation’s seaports can be clearly seen in the dramatic decrease in cargo handled at South Africa’s ports, although there is an improvement on the month of April which took the brunt of the early lockdown process. For a comparison with the same month of 2019 we provide a link below. For how long this situation of economic downturn will continue is difficult to judge, as no-one has yet calculated or can estimate the full effect of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns at ports across the world, or the short, medium and long-term effects the crisis is going to have on not only the local South African economy, but world trade and shipping in general. This is an ongoing matter.

These effects are being seen with the number of ship services blanked (cancelled) and similarly the increasing number of ships diverting around the Cape of Good Hope and even Cape Horn in order to delay arrival in Europe, North America or China and to lower the costs of the voyages by avoiding the Suez or Panama Canal fees. We reported this a month ago and the trend continues.

How long this growing worldwide recession will last before world trade can begin to rebound depends may depend on the discovery of a cure or vaccine or even a treatment for COVID-19. Indications are that this may not be until 2021 at the earliest but even then the effects may remain long-lasting. However there are indications of world economies beginning to stir and reopen nothwithstanding the continuing risks of the pandemic.

Total cargo handled for the month of May 2020 amounted to…[restrict] 20.117mt which was a significant improvement on the 16.345 million tonnes handled in April 2020).

For comparison with the equivalent month of last year however, May 2019 CLICK HERE

These statistic reports on Africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by TNPA and include containers recorded by weight; an adjustment necessary because TNPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation,  Africa PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting.  Africa PORTS & SHIPS  will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

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Port of Durban,viewed from across Pier 2 of the container terminal, with Wilson's Wharf facing and a section of the Esplanade as the backdrop, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban scene,viewed from across Pier 2 of the container terminal, with Wilson’s Wharf facing and a section of the Esplanade as the backdrop

Figures for the respective ports during May 2020 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during May 2020, including containers by weight

PORT May 2020 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.176
Durban 5.098
Saldanha Bay 4.852
Cape Town 1.046
Port Elizabeth 0.624
Ngqura 0.822
Mossel Bay 0.109
East London -0.390
Total all ports 20.117 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during May 2020
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT May 2020 TEUs
Durban 194,353
Cape Town 54,069
Port Elizabeth 12,515
Ngqura 33,977
East London 175
Richards Bay 1016
Total all ports 296,103 TEU

MOTOR VEHICLES RO-RO TRAFFIC (measured by Units- CEUs) during May 2020

PORT May 2020 CEUs
Durban 15,113
Cape Town 1
Port Elizabeth 4,156
East London 3.055
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 22,325 CEU

SHIP CALLS for May 2020

PORT May 2020 vessels gross tons
Durban 215 7,750,694
Cape Town 138 3,520,321
Richards Bay 139 5,390,887
Port Elizabeth 67 1,747,488
Saldanha Bay 43 3,003,994
Ngqura 43 2,442,542
East London 15 396,731
Mossel Bay 20 127,897
Total ship calls 680 24,380,554
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&S[/restrict]


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TRANSNET BANNER displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Transnet SOC Ltd announced on Thursday (18 June 2020) that it has instituted a process of lifestyle audits for its employees, as part of its efforts to ensure high standards of ethics and integrity.

Transnet as one of the larger state-owned enterprises has not been spared gaining a reputation for corruption among senior personnel, running into claims of billions of rands having been looted in one way or another.

Now, in setting the tone and leading by example, senior management that includes executive management (Level A – C), have become the first category of employees to undergo the initial phase of the lifestyle audit.

The lifestyle audit is one of a number of initiatives to rebuild trust within Transnet and between ourselves and the public we serve, said the company statement.

The lifestyle audit is intended as an additional governance tool to improve transparency and prevent conflicts of interest.

The audit is in line with directives issued by Government on security checks for employees in government departments and state-owned entities.

It will be rolled out over time, prioritising functions such as procurement, IT and security.

Employees are required to submit forms declaring – among others – their assets, credit history as well as those of their immediate family members, and a declaration of their interests. It will allow Transnet to assess whether an employee’s lifestyle is in line with their known income.

The process aims to ensure that all necessary declarations and recusals are in place when related entities do business with Transnet.

Transnet said the response has been overwhelmingly positive thus far, with over 90% of employees submitting themselves to the process. “This attests to the fact that the majority of us support and treasure an environment where the primary motive of all employees is to acting the interests of Transnet and South Africa,” said Transnet.

When asked about the other 10 % of employees who hadn’t submitted themselves to the process, we were told that the company would get back to us shortly. Africa PORTS & SHIPS will publish that response when it is received.

RESPONSE:  Friday 19 June 16h00:  Responding to the above query from this publication, a Transnet spokesperson said the following:

“Transnet SOC Ltd believes that all managers will submit to the process, as it is in the broader interests of the company, and the country.  However, in instances of non-compliance, Transnet will afford employees an opportunity to explain their non-compliance before implementing necessary disciplinary action, in line with its labour relations policies.” 

According to Transnet the process of the audit is independent and confidentiality is assured. “Engagement on the information will be undertaken between the individual and the service provider, to afford comfort of protection of privacy of information. The service provider is subject to strict confidentiality and indemnity undertakings.

“In instances where discrepancies are identified, individuals will be given an opportunity to provide additional information or clarification before any further action is taken.”


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Port of Durban looking across the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, with the Bluff in the background, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban looking across the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 North Quay, with Island View and  the Bluff in the background

The operation of a port the size of Durban requires close interaction and collaboration with various stakeholders and the national lockdown brought introduced in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced serious challenges in this respect.

As other sectors have discovered, it becomes necessary to…[restrict] harness the power of technology to bring together the various stakeholders necessary to ensure the continued efficient addressing of port issues.

Every day the port holds a Daily Virtual Stakeholder Operations meeting which is led by the General Manager of the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi, and includes representatives of shipping lines, all terminal operators, the trucking fraternity and depots.

The meeting enables each stakeholder to be kept up to speed with daily operational plans and to address bottlenecks as the port navigates through this challenging period.

“We use this opportunity to bring together all the brains to look at how we should interpret the government regulations as they are unfolding and how we can ensure that the port responds responsibly in a manner that firstly keeps the safety of our people as the prime objective and, secondly, to assist in keeping the wheels of the economy turning,” says Motlohi.

“We have really found value in this because for the first time we have players who have never met now coming together to look at the entire port plan and identifying the bottlenecks as they shift from one node to another. The insight derived from this has been useful because we have been able to advise authorities around the impact of some of these regulations.”

Participants in the 30-minute virtual call are:  the South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA); South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF); Transnet divisions National Ports Authority, Port Terminals and Freight Rail; the South African Sugar Association, FPT, Bidvest Port Terminals, TATA Chemicals, Ocean Africa, SA Bulk Terminals, Grindrod and the Citrus Growers Association.

CEO of SAASOA, Peter Besnard, said it would not be proper from a SAASOA perspective to ignore the effort that has been applied by everyone during the many stressful weeks of disaster management, lockdown and now the adjustment to lower alert levels.

“Their enthusiasm at each meeting and on the quay has been unbelievable even though they too are risking contracting the dreaded COVID-19 virus to satisfy the needs of the many port users. To conclude, we thank you all for a truly magnificent effort to keep the wheels turning during extremely tough conditions.”

Other multi-stakeholder collaboration continuing during the lockdown includes the Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team which sees various private and public sector representatives working to tackle traffic pressure and congestion in the Port of Durban’s Bayhead Precinct and surrounding road networks.[/restrict]


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A Hazardous Life: Captain George Forsyth, Mariner and First Harbour Master for the Colony of Western Australia

By Ron Forsyth & Ian Forsyth
Published by Maritime Heritage Association Inc
P O Box 1080
Western Australia 6041

First published in 2019, softback, 274 pages ISBN 978 0 9944304 1 0

A Hazardous Life book review featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

George Andrew Duncan Forsyth (born Southwark, London, 1843, died Fremantle, 1894) led a varied and hazardous life after arriving in the Colony of Western Australia as a 21-year-old in 1864. Through hard work and natural ability he worked his way up through the Harbour Master’s Department and was appointed the inaugural head of the Department of Harbour and Light in 1879.

Fremantle was a notoriously difficult port in the 19th century. It is important to note that in 1864 Fremantle was a town of 3,500 people and saw one ship a week from beyond the colony and at that time the voyage from England was of from 10 to 12 weeks duration.

The Inner Harbour is at the mouth of the Swan River, on the edge of the Indian Ocean and a gateway to Western Australia. This is a place of plentiful resources where people met for thousands of years as well as a place of spiritual meaning where ancestors walked, camped, hunted and fished, naming the features they saw.

In the early years of European settlement, the port comprised various wooden jetties in the area known as Bathers’ Beach and Arthur’s Head. These jetties were exposed to the elements, including the strong SW winds known locally as the Fremantle Doctor. Work began on the Fremantle Inner Harbour, designed by State Engineer CY O’Connor, in 1892 and the harbour was officially opened on 4 May 1897.

Without doubt the port has played a significant part in Western Australia’s development and history, including wartime. There is much on the port’s early history to be found on the port’s website by CLICKING HERE

Major imports through the port in the early years of its history were manufactured goods, food products and some raw materials such as coal. Fisheries products, sandalwood and other timbers, wool, gold and later wheat were the major exports,

As George Forsyth struggled to improve safety and port operations, he became a thorn in the side of ship owners and the colonial administration which eventually led to his dismissal on spurious charges in 1885. The opposition he encountered from branches of the shipping community and the Legislative Council were unbelievable as he was attempting to professionalise the port’s operations. Power and personalities of others played no small part here such that returned to a life at sea and fell into obscurity.

George was also an amateur artist. While he was a painter of moderate talent, his legacy is a collection of sketches and paintings that hold tremendous historic value. His scenes of Western Australia were executed with great attention to detail and are a valuable reference for researchers. Some of his work is included in the book.

In all the tale is told over 18 chapters introduced with a foreword by Hon Kerry Sanderson, former Governor of Western Australia and CEO of Fremantle Ports.

Chapters are supported by a preface, acknowledgments and brought up in the rear with an appendix concerning Captain George Forsyth’s prolific artwork to which is added references, a list for further reading, endnotes, an index of vessels, places and people and organisations in the text. At the front there is a valuable set of five pages of maps showing: Western Australia and the approaches to the Port of Fremantle. To conclude there are brief introductory notes to the authors Ron and Ian Forsyth and to the Maritime Heritage Association of Western Australia, the publisher.

Brothers Ian and Ron Forsyth knew very little about their great grandfather George until Ron began researching their family history. It became apparent that he had uncovered a fascinating story from Australian maritime history. This deserves a wide audience. The Forsyth family was very much part of the Western Australia maritime community.

Here is a fascinating insight into port management and colonial administration in WA in the second half of the 19th century. A well-written account of which Captain Allan Gray, President of IHMA, commented: “…provides a great window into the life of Fremantle in colonial days…I have seen the same role through different eyes more than a century later.”

As a dedication readers are informed that the book pays tribute to the Colony of Western Australia’s valorous harbour masters, pilots, coxswains and crews who performed a vital role in keeping the colony afloat. How very true.

To buy a copy

Readers are invited to make contact with the Maritime Heritage Association based in Guilderton, Western Australia, by e-mail:

The Home page is here:

A pdf order form may be found HERE

The price is currently (1 June 2020): Au$29 or GBP14.50 plus postage.   Cost including postage to an address outside Australia can be advised by the Maritime Heritage Association.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent


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Manila Maersk, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Manila Maersk

Ships of the Maersk fleet will shortly be assisting global research efforts on weather patterns and climate change when the Danish company commits 300 company-owned vessels to participate in the global Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program.

While Maersk already has many ships already contributing to the VOS, the newly expanded commitment will see its entire fleet participating by the end of 2020. The recorded data helps meteorologists create more accurate weather and storm forecasts – and will also…[restrict] be used in the creation of atmosphere-ocean models that will help scientists better understand climate change.

“As a global container logistics company, our vessels form a vital role in keeping supply chains moving safely and timely,” said Aslak Ross, Maersk’s Head of Marine Standards. “Helping weather forecasting and climate science advance makes great sense to us, since both of these areas affect our operations in various ways.”

Improving data accuracy and efficiency – digitally

While scientists have been collecting and sharing weather and ocean condition observations for over 150 years around the world, technological advances have significantly increased the amount of information which can be shared.

A typical VOS records and transmits observations manually, with a vessel crewmember reading data from instruments onboard the ship, or in some cases through automated weather stations (AWS). The data is then sent to the various National Meteorological Services for use in weather prediction models and to monitor actual conditions at sea.

To obtain more data with higher precision, the first five Maersk vessels participating in the VOS program are equipped with a more advanced type of AWS, called the European Common Automatic Weather Station (EUCAWS). The EUCAWS system automatically collects data on atmospheric pressure, air temperature and relative humidity and transmits them hourly to designated research stations. By the end of 2020, a total of 50 such stations are planned to be operational on Maersk vessels, providing the largest fleet of AWS from a single company.

“If we can help create even marginal improvements to the quality of weather routing services, these will be important levers in our constant efforts to improve the safety of our crews and assets and ensure reliable arrival times for our customers’ supply chains,” said Ross.

While over 3000 ships are involved in the VOS program, overall participation has declined in recent years due to the reduction in the global commercial fleet’s financial and crew resources. New technologies such as AWS and electronic logbooks, however, have led to an increase in the quantity and quality of observations from each vessel. As the world’s largest container ship fleet operator, Maersk will be making a significant contribution to improving the amount and quality of data available to the study.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the global community, impacting our business as well as the societies and customers we serve and partner with in enabling trade,” said Ross. “We have an ambitious strategy to decarbonise our fleet of vessels by 2050 and as we execute this plan, we are proud to have our vessels and crews help researchers in gaining a better understanding of this key global challenge.”

In the United States, Maersk has worked actively with the VOS partner organisation and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a variety of environmental programs. These have included testing air quality and vessel stack emissions and whale protection programs on both coasts.

“We are pleased to be able to expand our long-term work with NOAA to help gather high quality data to improve understanding of global weather and climate conditions. This complements our work here in the US with NOAA on air quality, vessel emissions and protecting endangered whales,” remarked Maersk North America’s Director of Environment and Sustainability, Dr Lee Kindberg.[/restrict]


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Section of the Durban Car Terminal, one of 16 TPT-operated port terminals in South Africa. Picture by Steve McCurrach, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Section of the Durban Car Terminal, one of 16 TPT-operated port terminals in South Africa. Picture by Steve McCurrach

Transnet Port Terminals, which operates with 16 port and three inland terminals in South Africa, has become a significant investor within the technical and maritime logistics skills landscape, having spent over R40 million the the development of young people during the recently concluded 2019/2020 financial year.

Annually, over 400 young people…[restrict] across the country have the opportunity to participate in technical, non-technical and experiential development programmes within the company.

“Our apprenticeship and sector-specific programmes remain the most accommodating of all our initiatives, offering work-based learning under the supervision and guidance of a skilled, qualified artisan or operator,” said Brenda Magqwaka, the Acting General Manager of Human Resources at TPT.

She added that these two of nine youth-benefiting programmes accounted for about 52% of the company’s total spend and they were skills most critical for the company’s daily operations.

Apart from engineers, artisans and technicians TPT also provides programmes for graduates participating in non-technical fields across Health and Wellness, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Information Communication Technologies, Human Resources and Corporate Communications departments within the business.

“Our Young Professional in Training programme is aimed at providing young professionals with workplace experience to capacitate them with the skills necessary for employment with any organisation in the country,” said Magqwaka.

In-house Initiatives

Other in-house initiatives targeting youth include the TPT flagship AIM Programme launched last year with an intake of 60 students from various universities. The intention of this programme is to give youth residing in South Africa’s port cities access to the world of operations, maritime logistics, and the blue economy.

During tertiary holidays, the students visit TPT operations nationwide – where they are exposed to business challenges and given an opportunity to develop solutions to enhance the business.

“With innovation forming an integral part of the business agenda worldwide, partnerships we have in place with institutions such as Innovate Durban in KZN are becoming more and more necessary. Here we replicate the challenge-solution based approach to young minds with fresh thinking,” Magqwaka said, adding that the contributions are always encouraging.

Youth accounts for about 37% of the TPT division’s total workforce with 137 bursaries currently allocated to employed youth pursuing further studies in the current calendar year. This becomes important as the company’s robust succession planning needs to create a talent pool of leaders and 21% is currently attributed to young people, a number forecasted to increase in the next year.[/restrict]


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Cosco Yinkou. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cosco Yinkou. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

Maersk Line and China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) have combined operations to form a joint service between the East African ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam and China and South East Asia.

Given the name ‘Mashariki Express’ the shipping service is further evidence that the days have passed when the ports of East Africa relied on feeder services to connect with the outside world.

The ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam are now directly connected with ports in China and have an effective saving in time of an average of two weeks.

The two East African ports each provide gateway services to neighbouring landlocked countries including Zambia, Malawi, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

The first vessel under the new Mashariki Express agreement, the 41,500-dwt COSCO YINKOU (IMO: 9403011) has already arrived in East Africa from Far East and South East Asian ports.

Port rotation of the Mashariki Express service, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port rotation of the Mashariki Express service



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Take a break from all the reading that lies ahead with these two cruising videos, courtesy Fred. Olsen Lines. After all, who knows how long before we see cruise ships with real passengers lining the decks. Both videos are short – this is just an interlude.

Four Freds in the Firth of Forth [1:12]

And if that was enjoyable but too short, watch FRED OLSEN CAPTAINS IN CADIZ which is slightly longer at [2:43]. Afterwards you can remain online with YouTube for more video clips, but do remember to return to this page.

Fred Olsen Captains in Cádiz [2:48]


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Steven Pieters, Sales Director Exhaust Gas Cleaning at Alfa Laval, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Steven Pieters, Sales Director Exhaust Gas Cleaning at Alfa Laval

For smaller vessels like handymax bulkers or product tankers, the cost of installing a scrubber for SOx compliance has sometimes outweighed the benefits. Now Alfa Laval PureSOx Express makes it simple for these vessels to continue using HFO and comply with SOx regulations.

The new PureSOx Express is an open-loop PureSOx system, but one delivered as a fully enclosed module. Adapted for a simple and cost-efficient fit on smaller vessels, it reduces the investment cost, engineering time and physical work of installing a SOx scrubber.

TO continue with the rest of this report, please go to our TRADE NEWS section.


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konecranes model SMV 4531 TC5 flow-drive reach stacker supplied to APM Terminals at Port Elizabeth. Picture: Konecranes, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Konecranes model SMV 4531 TC5 flow-drive reach stacker supplied to APM Terminals at Port Elizabeth. Picture: Konecranes

APM Terminals has taken delivery of a new Konecranes reach stacker at its Port Elizabeth inland terminal.

Delivery was made last month (May) with the new Flow Drive-equipped reach stacker as a replacement for an older machine and introducing the latest in fuel-efficiency truck technology to Africa.

According to Konecranes, the reach stacker, a model SMV 4531 TC5, is able…[restrict] to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 25 per cent. Driveability is optimised by software at all speeds, enabling the operator to concentrate on the main task of lifting.

Not only does it lower costs, but it allows more time for productivity. The net result of Flow Drive is lower emissions, but with improved performance, precision and safety.

The new reach stacker combines hydrostatic transmission with the fuel economy of a torque converter and a small but powerful Volvo TAD-853-VE engine, said Konecranes.

Another feature is that the Port Elizabeth truck has been customised with a hydraulic sliding cabin for better driver visibility.

Maintenance for the entire Port Elizabeth fleet is provided by the EIE Group which has a special, long-term relationship with APM Terminals, according to Lenny Naidoo, Key Account Sales, EIE Group.

“As the local distributor for Konecranes, we knew exactly the right model for APM’s requirements, and are excited to be bringing this innovative technology here. We’ll provide maintenance as part of our continuing service package to the entire Port Elizabeth lift truck fleet,” he said.[/restrict]


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Derailed grain wagons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Derailed grain wagons

At the end of May I introduced the (UK) Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), one of three offices with responsibilities for accident investigation; others concern aviation and maritime accidents. You can see that report HERE

Introducing the ATSB

In Australia the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is the national transport safety investigator. This is an independent Commonwealth Government statutory agency. It is…[restrict] governed by a commission and is entirely separate from transport regulators, policy makers and service providers.

The Bureau’s function is to improve safety and public confidence in the aviation, marine and rail modes of transport through excellence in independent investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences. It also considers safety data recording, analysis and research as well as fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action.

The relative safety of rail transport, and confidence of its users, is paramount to its attractiveness as a transport means; however this safety is not implicit. Developed safety systems, mature safety cultures and active oversight all play key roles in maintaining standards.

Two ATSB reports

While following news from ATSB last week I noted two reports recently concluded and of interest into rail accidents in Australia. Although these involve Australian rail there is a universal application, none more so than with African railway systems. In other words by studying such documents there is much to be learnt by all those entrusted with transport safety. As with the UK’s RAIB these are ‘no blame’ rail safety investigations.

Grain train derailment

Poor track condition including a short twist defect as well as a higher than specified train speed contributed to the derailment of eleven loaded grain wagons south of Narwonah, north-western New South Wales, on 1 October 2017.

The Pacific National grain train service 8838N, comprising two 81-class locomotives and 23 wagons, was travelling from Nevertire to Manildra on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) operated rail network, when the eleven grain wagons located at the rear of the consist derailed. An emergency brake application occurred in response to the uncoupling, which brought the front portion of the train to a stop. There were no injuries but there was substantial damage to nine wagons and track infrastructure.

A transport safety investigation into the derailment, conducted on behalf of the ATSB by NSW’s Office of Transport Safety Investigation (OTSI), found that maintenance of previously identified track defects near the derailment site was not successful in preventing the defects from re-occurring.

The investigation also established that the train crew, comprising a driver and an assistant driver, were operating the train at a speed of approximately 80 km/h, in excess of the 60 km/h limit for that section of track specified by ARTC. This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that track is free from any defects, and that trains travel at or below the speed specified in the standards.

In the words of OTSI Chief Executive Office Mick Quinn: “The incident highlights the importance of ensuring that track is free of defects that effect safety and that trains travel at or below the speed specified in rail network standards.”

Defects around a rail joint and the train speed contributed to the vertical unloading of the wheels on the 12th wagon, Quinn noted and added: “Train 8838N was travelling at 82 km/h immediately before the derailment, where the specified speed for its axle loading was 60 km/h.

“It is likely that this increased the risk of derailment. Also, if other wagons had travelled frequently over this track at increased speeds, this may have led to a more rapid deterioration of the track.”

Repairing the damaged section of track required the replacement 300 metres of rail, fasteners and sleepers and 150 metres of new formation, it is understood.

Since the derailment ARTC made a number of changes to its track maintenance systems and processes, and is continuing with steel and concrete re-sleepering and rail joint removal programs to its network in central and north-western NSW.

The title of the ATSB investigation report is: RO-2017-014 Derailment of grain train 8838N, Narwonah, NSW, on 1 October 2017.[/restrict]

Rail defect derails freight wagons

Broken rail, featured in report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Broken rail

The derailment of two freight wagons and the subsequent disruption to freight and passenger services has highlighted the importance of inspection techniques that effectively monitor and report on asset condition.

On 7 June 2019, Pacific National freight train 6CM3 was operating between Griffith, in New South Wales’ Riverina region and Melbourne’s Appleton Dock. A roll-by inspection…[restrict] from the Down platform at Junee station detected that the 40th and 41st wagons of the train had derailed.

The investigation, conducted on behalf of the ATSB by NSW’s Office of Transport Safety Investigation (OTSI), found that the wagons had derailed at a broken rail about 300 metres before the platform. The rail had broken in two places, allowing the wagons’ wheels to derail, damaging the wagons and infrastructure.

It was found that following a change in maintenance practices, rails forming turnouts between main lines were not being ultrasonically tested. As a consequence, a likely detectable rail defect went undetected, with the two rail breaks occurring at different times. The crew’s detection of the derailed wagons prevented an escalation of the occurrence.

As a result of the incident, the Australian Rail Track Corporation identified rails forming turnouts that were not previously subjected to ultrasonic testing. Those rails were included in the asset management register, and testing was scheduled.

In conclusion the investigation’s safety message highlights that managers of rail infrastructure should ensure that inspection techniques effectively monitor and report on asset condition. Further, risk controls should be continuously assessed through the life cycle of the asset, in particular when changes are made to inspection regimes.

The title of the ATSB investigation report is: RO-2019-011: Derailment of freight train 6CM3, Junee, New South Wales, on 7 June 2019.

The full reports of these accidents will be found by CLICKING HERE[/restrict]

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Text here based on media information kindly provided by ATSB. Illustrations published by courtesy of ATSB and OTSI ©


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Bunker barge (tanker) Sarah, now in service at the Namibian ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bunker barge (tanker) Sarah, now in service at the Namibian ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz

The Port of Walvis Bay on the long Namibian coast continues to punch above its own weight. The port which recently opened a new state-or-the art container terminal that is providing impetus to the port’s status as a regional hub serving significant parts of Central Africa, has now acquired its own bunkering service.

This has come about in a collaboration between Namport and…[restrict] the oil company Engen, with the latter acquiring the exclusive services of a 2000 MT Barge, which will be made available to rigs, support services and offshore passing vessels lying at anchorage. Bunker supplies will consist of the provision of Gasoil (10 PPM and 500 PPM) at the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

Managing Director of Engen in Namibia, Christian Li, says the company is a firm supporter of Namport’s vision to attract increased cargo to the Port of Walvis Bay and position the Walvis Bay Corridor as a natural gateway for international trade, by offering direct access to principal shipping routes.

“The service of the Barge MT SARAH (IMO: 9555591) is a first for Namibia and a welcome addition to bunkering operations as it will help to decongest berths, offer a much-needed alternative to pipelines and truck delivery, and create much-needed employment,” adds Li.

The Port of Walvis Bay is situated on Africa’s south-western coast, and as such, is a convenient and fast transit route, connecting southern Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Located further south, the Port of Lüderitz, caters for Namibia’s southern regions and provides access to South African markets in the Northern Cape.

“As a market leader in Namibia, Engen is driven by innovation and always looking for ways to best serve our customers,” continues Li.

“Our bunkering service will enhance both port’s service offering, by attracting increased cargo into Southern Africa, which in turn will boost Namibia’s economy and create direct and indirect jobs.”

With many vessels already visiting the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz annually, many more vessels pass without calling into port.

“The introduction of the barge will give Namibia both inshore and offshore, flexible, reliable and efficient supply options.

“This service will not only allow Engen Namibia to offer more effective bunkering facilities but will also boost the industry as a whole, as Barge MT Sarah is at the disposal of all stakeholders.”

The Barge MT Sarah is 77.4 metres in length and 10.6 metres wide and has a Gross Tonnage of 1372 Tons and a Deadweight of 1975 Tons. Pumping capacity is 200m³/hr.[/restrict]


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Seafarers, we know that you, your loved ones, and your friends have had enough, ITF - Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Seafarers, we know that you, your loved ones, and your friends have had enough

World’s seafarers will now exercise right to leave ships amid Covid-19 failures

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its affiliated seafarers’ unions will now assist hundreds of thousands of seafarers to exercise their right to stop working, leave ships, and return home.

The new approach, which could be highly disruptive to global trade, comes after insufficient action by governments to designate seafarers as ‘key workers’, exempt them from Covid-19 travel restrictions and facilitate repatriation of around 200,000 seafarers who have been caught up in the crew change crisis, said ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair Dave Heindel.

“We are sending a very strong message to seafarers: you have selflessly extended and extended your contracts to do your part to keep critical supplies flowing around the world during this pandemic.”

“Some seafarers have been onboard for more than a year, and over the course of this pandemic many have been prevented by governments from coming ashore even for a walk and alarmingly refused emergency medical care. Frankly, we have seafarers killing themselves at the prospect of this misery continuing without end. They call them ‘floating prisons’. This situation is intolerable to the ITF family,” said Heindel.

ITF President and Dockers’ Section chair Paddy Crumlin reiterated the repeated warnings given to governments from unions and industry of this unfolding humanitarian crisis: “We have urged them on the consequences of tired, fatigued, depressed crew – to trade, to the environment. We have worked with industry and the international community to offer solutions.”

“But enough is enough. We have to draw a line in the sand and today is the day that we make it crystal clear to governments, that from 16 June, seafarers are going to start enforcing their right to stop working and to return home. No more contract extensions.” said Crumlin.

ITF campaign regarding trapped seafarers, June 2020, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

ITF General Secretary Steve Cotton said all that governments need to do is make practical exceptions to coronavirus restrictions, and allow these key workers to transit through their territories and return to their families. A few small changes by national governments would allow seafarers to get home, and be relieved by a fresh crew, he said.

“If a seafarers wants off a ship, then the ITF, our affiliated unions and the ITF inspectorate will do everything we can to assist them. We fully expect port state authorities in all countries where ships dock to honour their obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention to get these seafarers safely home. That is their legal obligation.”

“If getting seafarers off these ships causes chaos in supply chains, if ports back up from Singapore to San Francisco, and if this causes ship insurance providers to pull their coverage and global trade to grind to a halt; then that is on the heads of politicians, not the world’s seafarers.”

“Seafarers have done our part in this pandemic, and plenty more. Enough is enough, said Steve Cotton.

See following report ……


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Day of the Seafarer banner 2020, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

This year, the annual Day of the Seafarer (DotS) will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on 25 June

​As we all know seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies. However, the crisis has led to difficult working conditions for seafarers, including uncertainties and difficulties about port access, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation.

This year, the Day of the Seafarer campaign calls on Member States to recognise seafarers as key workers – and to provide them with the support, assistance and travel options open to all key workers during the pandemic.

SG IMO’s message

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has himself issued a moving personal message to seafarers everywhere, assuring them that IMO understands the unique problems they face during the coronavirus pandemic and has been working tirelessly at all levels to find solutions for them.

Secretary-General Lim has also urged IMO Member States and shipping companies to adopt a practical and pragmatic approach to issues like crew changeovers, resupply, repairs, survey, and certification and licensing of seafarers.

The 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign pays tribute to seafarers, acknowledging their sacrifice and the issues they face. Many seafarers have been away from home for months and are unsure when they will be able to return home due to travel restrictions.

Raising awareness

This campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the work achieved by seafarers in response to the pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. Everyone is invited to recognise that the ability of seafarers to deliver vital goods is central to responding to, and eventually overcoming, this pandemic.

Furthermore the campaign encourages everyone to treat seafarers with the respect and dignity they deserve so that they can continue to provide their vital services to keep world trade moving.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Meridian Terminal Tema
Picture: Meridian

Mzukisi Qobo, University of the Witwatersrand and Mjumo Mzyece, University of the Witwatersrand

The unfolding US-China power rivalry 
bears a striking resemblance to the tensions between the US and the Soviet bloc during the Cold War years. Back then, African countries were positioned like pawns on a grand chessboard. Their social and economic progress was hampered because they expended energy aligning themselves with either of the superpowers in the battle for world supremacy between communism and capitalism.

With notable exceptions, African states generally failed to exercise positive agency for their own development. They also eroded the institutional and governance foundations vital for economic success.

In the current context of rising geopolitical tensions between the US and China, African countries may find themselves repeating the same mistakes unless they proactively shape their own destinies.

The tensions between the two great powers, characterised by a vicious trade war, are deepening at a time when the world economy is under enormous strain due to COVID-19. At the same time African countries are facing their worst economic crises since independence.

Africa is institutionally under-prepared to weather the combined effects of the health pandemic and severe economic recession. Its leaders will need to consciously design strategies of engagement that will help them to manage the ongoing superpower tensions to their advantage. They should do so without taking sides. This requires that they deal with each of these great powers based on pragmatic – rather than ideological – choices.

Despite their institutional under-preparedness, African countries can – and indeed must – be highly strategic and tactical in how they respond to the US-China tensions. Failure to do so will inevitably mean sacrificing their own interests.

There are three arenas of challenges and opportunities for the African continent in the current geopolitical climate. The first involves technological frontiers, the second is global supply chains, and the third is trade integration and economic cooperation.

New technological frontiers

There is overwhelming evidence that technological innovation is the key driver of economic growth. Therefore, access to and exploitation of new technologies such as 5G is vital to Africa’s development. Fifth generation technologies are important options for a continent like Africa where mobile technology has leap-frogged more traditional technologies.

Access to technologies like 5G offers access to universal broadband, which is critical for the continent’s advance to a digital economy.

In May last year the US government put the Chinese firm Huawei, the world’s leading supplier of 5G network infrastructure, on its list of entities deemed to pose a significant risk to national security and foreign policy interests.

Huawei was effectively banned from importing and incorporating key US technologies into its products and services. This included both hardware, such as high-tech semiconductor components, and software, like Google Mobile Services (GMS). The ban was later extended to key technologies from non-US firms. These included the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, a major Huawei supplier.

In the month following the initial ban, the CEOs of four major South African telecommunications operators – Telkom, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C – wrote a joint letter to South African president Cyril Ramaphosa requesting his urgent intervention on the US action against Huawei. Their aim would have been to lend diplomatic weight to prevent damage to South Africa’s telecommunications sector.

In July last year Ramaphosa came out in support of the four operators as well as Huawei. He said the ban was:

an example of protectionism that will affect our own telecommunications sector, particularly the efforts to roll out the 5G network, causing a setback on other networks as well.

This was an example of pragmatism on the part of the South African government.

African policymakers should strenuously safeguard their right to choose from the widest possible range of technology options that suit their countries’ development needs. And they should insist on acquiring and developing new technologies like 5G based on pragmatism.

Global supply chains

The second theatre of struggle for African countries is in global supply chains.

The COVID-19 reality, combined with the ratcheting up of US-China tensions over trade, technology and supply chains, has opened up opportunities that African countries should exploit.

Combined, they have exposed serious problems in supply networks across various sectors. These include digital products, food, pharmaceutical and medical supply chains.

These sectors represent opportunities for African countries to develop new products, services and capabilities. They could, for example, provide answers to safeguarding Africa’s food security needs, local production of essential drugs and medicines, low-cost medical tests and equipment, and logistics.

A mural of presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Berlin.
EFE-EPA/Omer Messinger

But African countries will need to work more collaboratively to develop thriving economic sectors and cross-border industrial linkages. Trade will, in our view, be a critical enabler for this.

This leads us to the third domain, namely the need for African countries to deepen trade integration and economic cooperation. This will provide a basis for diversifying from over-reliance on export markets such as China and the US, and to build internal resilience.

Intra-Africa trade

Intra-African trade accounts for just 16% of total African trade. This compares with 52% in Asia and 73% in Europe. African trade is highly concentrated on a few economic hubs: China and Europe together account for 54% of total African trade, with China being Africa’s single largest trading partner. It accounts for over 14% of total African trade.

The African Continental Free Trade Area creates the institutional and infrastructural framework for Africa to strengthen intra-African trade, diversify its trading partners and implement long-overdue trade policy reforms.

COVID-19 has induced significant delays in the implementation of this trading arrangement. It should, in fact, have magnified a sense of urgency. But instead of showing adaptability, African leaders pressed a pause button. As a result, the continent could miss an opportunity to accelerate development of cross-border value chains in medical supplies and equipment and other areas.

Imagination and courage

African countries should seize the opportunities presented by deepening tensions between China and the US to realise positive agency and chart their own future. They will need to be more proactive and adaptive under the fluid and uncertain global environment. This will require a great deal of imagination and courage.

African countries face a daunting set of challenges and constraints. But policymakers always have options.The Conversation

Mzukisi Qobo, Head: Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand and Mjumo Mzyece, Associate Professor of Technology and Operations Management, University of the Witwatersrand

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


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Some of the 13 trucks of illegal timber intercepted and impounded by Mozambique authorities. Picture: O País, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Some of the 13 trucks of illegal timber intercepted and impounded by Mozambique authorities. Picture: O País

A total of 13 trucks transporting logs most likely for export have been seized by authorities in Dondo, Sofala province in central Mozambique. This was over a three day period last week.

The report was made by José Ncuinda, head of inspection for…[restrict] the Forest and Wildlife sector in Sofala province.

The amount of wood stated on the documents did not correspond with the amount they were actually transporting, said Ncuinda.

He said the wood had been seized in the course of inspections carried out by the Ministry of Land and Environment which are aimed at preventing wood smuggling and illegal logging in the country.

The wood involved consisted of black chacate, sandalwood and monzo from forests in Sofala, Zambézia and Manica provinces.

It is thought that the authorities were able to act based on information received from informants.

“Fines of more than 900,000 thousand meticais (€11,000) were imposed for the transgressions,” Ncuinda said, adding that the authorities will continue to follow up on tip-offs about theft and to monitor wood smuggling routes.

Containers of illegal timber intercepted before being exported from the port of Beira. THis was on an earlier occasion, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Containers of illegal timber intercepted before they could be exported from the port of Beira. This was from an earlier occasion

At the end of May, Mozambican authorities seized 50 containers of wood at a Chinese company suspected of illegal exporting, also in Dondo.

Several national and international reports have highlighted Mozambique as the scene of environmental crimes, mainly illegal logging, warning of the consequences of high levels of deforestation.

In the past five years Mozambique has introduced more stringent measures aimed at curtailing this illegal trade, which frequently involved Chinese or Vietnamese agents. The timber is usually smuggled out of the country in containers that are transported to ports such as Beira, Nacala and Pemba for loading into ships.

In an effort at preventing the loss of forested areas and the illegal export of timber Mozambique applied restrictive measures in the last five years. In 2018 the Mozambican government issued new rules aimed at halting the unrestrained felling of native species.

This was followed up in April of this year with the Mozambican government announcing further measures involving a two-year suspension in the licensing of logging. In official figures it is estimated that Mozambique loses at least €140 million annually to wood smuggling. Source: Lusa[/restrict]


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New border procedures

When they make landfall will they face Customs delay? Photo: Ambrose Greenway ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
When they make landfall will they face Customs delay? Photo: Ambrose Greenway ©


UK Government announces phased transition

Commenting on confirmation by the UK Government of new border controls and procedures from the end of the Transition Period, the trade association for UK freight forwarders questioned whether the phased transition will succeed in giving the companies managing cross-border trade between the UK and EU…[restrict] enough time to make the necessary preparations to facilitate the revised arrangements. This was reported late on 12 June.

Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) says that BIFA members, the freight forwarders that handle a significant proportion of that trade, will also be hoping that the transfer of the Border and Protocol Delivery Group from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to the Cabinet will have the galvanising effect of ensuring the readiness of the border for the end of the transition period.

Keen said: “A recent survey of our members, revealed that the majority of respondents believed 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 lines.

“With that option now off the table, we hope that a trade deal between the EU and UK can be agreed before the end of the year.

“Even with a phased transition for the new border processes, and the promise of an additional £50 million investment in Customs IT infrastructure and training, we remain concerned on a number of issues, including the recruitment of staff qualified and experienced in Customs procedures, and the lack of available time to train newcomers, which is not a five-minute job.

“In effect we have a plan, but as always, the devil will be in the detail. For instance, how long will it take to build the infrastructure that the government recognises will be required?

“And it remains to be seen whether the EU will reciprocate with a similar phased transition for UK exports to the EU.”[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Cocoa exports, one of Africa's export crops facing challenges from COVID-19, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cocoa exports, one of Africa’s export crops facing challenges from COVID-19

Africa faces serious losses in crop exports as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, forecasts consultancy firm McKinsey.

The impact of this can affect an estimated 60 per cent of the economically active people across sub-Saharan Africa with the possible loss of US$ 4.8 Billion in exports mostly in crop exports.

The loss of markets involving the…[restrict] production of crops for exports accompanied by the consequent the closure of many factories across the sub-continent will in turn impact on related logistics sectors including the ports.

Agricultural exports accounts for up to 23 per cent in GDP of the sub-continent. The sector accounts for the jobs of as much as 60% of economically active people in the sub-Saharan part of the continent.

The report suggests that cocoa exports could be reduced by up to $2 Billion resulting from the fall in demand for chocolate accompanied by a decline in general prices.

Losses in coffee exports could hit East Africa hard, where the growing and production of coffee supports 6.6 million people and amounts to as much as $200 million, while the withdrawal of aviation services has struck the flower sector in that part of Africa leaving between $400 and $600 million in revenue from flower exports that could be lost.

These sectors are affected right now with uncertainty concerning ongoing exports, but equally the uncertainty will impact on planting for the following season.
On the flip side of the coin, bumper crops in the current season in certain parts of Africa may affect these forecasts. South Africa and Zambia have recorded near record maize crops, parts of which will be available for export.

South Africa is also enjoying a successful citrus export season with high volumes of export at the beginning of the season, which is showing signs of tapering off as the season wears on.

Such is the uncertainty of these agricultural related industries that bumper harvests from the current season in certain countries could mitigate the negative impact, according to Nigeria’s Nairametrics.[/restrict]


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UN Secretary-General, speaking out about seafarers trapped on ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the repatriation of seafarers

The UN Secretary-General is concerned about the growing humanitarian and safety crisis facing seafarers around the world. As a result of COVID-related travel restrictions, hundreds of thousands of the world’s two million seafarers have been stranded at sea for months. Unable to get off ships, the maximum sea time stipulated in international conventions is being ignored, with some seafarers marooned at sea for 15 months.

Shipping transports more than 80% of world trade, including vital medical supplies, food and other basic goods that are critical for the COVID-19 response and recovery. This ongoing crisis will have direct consequences on the shipping industry. The world could not function without the efforts of seafarers yet their contributions go largely unheralded; they deserve far greater support at any time but especially now.

The Secretary-General calls on all countries to formally designate seafarers and other marine personnel as “key workers” and ensure crew changeovers can safely take place.

United Nations agencies, including the International Labour Organisation and the International Maritime Organization, have worked with the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers Federation to develop protocols for crew changeovers, taking full account of public health concerns. The Secretary-General calls on all governments to urgently implement these protocols, allowing stranded seafarers to repatriate and others to join ships.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

Issued by IMO 12 June 2020

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Lake Victoria could burst its banks more often in the future.  What can be done 

Parts of Kenya have flooded as a result of Lake Victoria’s rising levels.
Photo by CASMIR ODUOR/AFP via Getty Images

Lydia Olaka, University of Nairobi

In recent weeks, water levels in Lake Victoria have reached unprecedented heights as a result of heavy rains in the East African region which started in August 2019. Some say the lake’s levels have not been this high for 50 years. According to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, the lake hit a new record level of 13.42 meters – marginally higher than the 13.41 meter mark recorded in 1964.

Nestled between Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, Lake Victoria supports the livelihoods of over 35 million people and is crucial for many sectors. The rising water levels have been devastating, particularly for those that live close to the lake and depend on it.

The lake supports fisheries, agriculture (through providing irrigation), hydropower (mainly for Uganda), domestic water supply and industry.

The lake is also an important tourist destination and provides the habitat for many key species – such as endemic cichlid fishes, birds and sitatunga antelopes.

Because of the floods, it’s been reported that over 200,000 people have been displaced in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The floods have destroyed infrastructure, farmland and crops, and property around the lake. They have also increased the spread of pollution. This is increasing water treatment costs and affecting those living in the surrounding areas. There are now concerns that there will be outbreaks of vector borne diseases – such as malaria and bilharzia – and gastrointestinal diseases such as cholera.

Heavy rains

The rains the region received were unusually heavy and attributable to the Indian Ocean Dipole – a weather phenomenon caused by differences in sea surface temperatures between the eastern and western tropical Indian Ocean. Last year, the differences in temperatures were higher than usual, causing much more rainfall over East Africa from September to January.

Though the rain caused by the dipole have ended, the region then moved into its rainy season which typically runs from March to May.

Lake Victoria has an enormous surface area of 68,800sqkm. Rainfall is very important for the lake as it accounts for 80% of its recharge. The 23 rivers that recharge the lake account for only 20% of its input.

From research my colleagues and I have done – examining the projected changes in weather in the Lake Victoria basin – we’ve found that these high water levels will be more frequent in the future because there’ll be much more rainfall.

The aim of our study was to look at how the rivers that drain into the Lake Victoria basin will change as a result of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

We show that, between 2036 and 2065, there will be 25% more annual rainfall in the eastern part of the lake Victoria catchment (Kenya and Tanzania side) area and between 5 and 10% in the western part of the catchment (Rwanda and Burundi side).

Our models use data from the Rossby Center Regional Atmospheric Model along with the global climate model from the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment project.

We coupled this with information on how much greenhouse gas there could be in the future. There are a series of scenarios – known as Representative Concentration Pathways – which represent what could happen in the future based on different emission trajectories. The more pessimistic scenarios, for instance, assume that no climate change policies are implemented and so there is an increase in greenhouse gases. These, more pessimistic, scenarios are what we based our models on.

Our data shows how much rain there could be. Lake Victoria is an open lake meaning whenever the lake level rises, spill-off should occur – this makes it hard to predict how much the lake will rise because the control of the spillover is through manmade dams in Jinja.

When the lake’s levels do get high, there are measures that countries affected can take to mitigate the effects – but they are not easy. They require careful planning and availability of funds.

What can be done

It’s all about managing the inputs and outputs and developing floodplain regulations.

The first step will be to plan how to reduce the flow of water into the lake by creating storage within the catchments – such as dams or reservoirs – or finding ways to divert the water – for instance through the use of canals or spillways.

However this will only manage 20% of what goes into the lake, as most of the recharge is because of rainfall. So we need to also consider outputs.

The only surface outlet of the lake is through the Victoria Nile river which forms the upper section of the Nile River. The Kiira and Nalubale dams, in Jinja, control the outflow of Lake Victoria into this river. Dam management scenarios that regulate the outflow to mimic natural lake level fluctuations are needed.

There are currently tensions over this, as there are accusations that Uganda could have done more to prevent the current floods by regulating the dams better. More must be done to ensure this does not happen again and that countries have strict agreements in place.

In addition to managing the lake’s levels through inputs and outputs, its extremely important that the region increases investments in monitoring systems that provide national early warning and communication. This will alert residents in a timely manner.The Conversation

Lydia Olaka, Lecturer, University of Nairobi

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


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Map showing Transnet pipelines from the Port of Durban to Gauteng

Transnet SOC Ltd says it has managed to meet the supply of fuel demand in Gauteng, the economic hub of the country.

This amidst efforts to curb criminal incidents of fuel theft on the multi-product pipelines that resulted in damage to the 24-inch multiproduct pipeline from the Durban Harbour to Gauteng.

To meet the fuel demand, Transnet had to work around the clock to ensure…[restrict] that the damaged infrastructure was repaired and was able to deliver product.

In addition to strengthening of the maintenance and repair regime, Transnet’s pipeline division has been able to increase security capabilities. This has been achieved through partnerships with law enforcement agencies, rural communities and farmers’ associations.

This collaboration has led to a number of arrests, and impounding of vehicles and fuel tankers.

Transnet owns 3,800 kilometres of high-pressure pipelines that run across five provinces conveying petroleum products, diesel, unleaded petrol, jet fuel, crude oil and gas. The 24-inch multi-product pipeline runs from Durban into the inland terminals in Gauteng and is a critical piece of economic infrastructure.

The pipeline is classified as essential infrastructure, therefore tampering, or colluding to tamper, is a Schedule 5 offense in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, Act 18 of 2015.

In a statement Transnet said it is of utmost importance to Transnet and the country to ensure that the pipelines remain a safe and cost-effective transportation mode of petroleum products and that Transnet is able to fulfil its commitment of security of supply of petroleum products to the inland market.

“Transnet appeals to residents or any persons living near the pipelines or driving past, to report any suspicious activities, such as bakkies or fuel tankers in the area of the block valve chambers or near our pipeline markers.

The toll free number is 0800 203 843, messages can be left in any language; the public’s support is highly appreciated.[/restrict]


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WHARF TALK: News and Views From Along the Coast


Would that Cape Town weather over the port's container terminal always appeared as friendly as in this picture and for much of the time it does, but come the winter and cold spells do set in with heavy rain and strong winds, bringing disruption to port activity, as occurred last week., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Would that Cape Town weather over the port’s container terminal always appeared as friendly as in this picture and for much of the time it does, but come the winter and cold spells do set in with heavy rain and strong winds, bringing disruption to port activity, as occurred last week.

The Port of Cape Town was affected by further delays in the past week when a cold weather front moved in from southern waters, drenching the Peninsular and Cape Town harbour with heavy rain and strong winds. This was on Wednesday 10 June and with the port windbound little further work was possible either in the terminals or with regards ship movements.

Wind speeds reached 70 km/h (44 mph) in the morning but abated…[restrict] sufficiently by the afternoon for operations at the Cape Town Container Terminal to resume. Over the years winter storms and gale-force winds have resulted in numerous delays to terminal operations, particularly the container terminal where equipment such as ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and straddle carriers are highly susceptible and include automatic shutdown devices when the winds reach certain velocities.

The port has wrestled with this challenge for many years and several solutions have been attempted but none with any great success. The Western Cape being a winter-rainfall area can expect further periods of rain accompanied by cold fronts, which often then extend across large parts of the country.

The container terminal at Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape was also windbound during the week as strong winds lashed Algoa Bay, disrupting container operations until the winds eventually abated. The Multi-Purpose Terminal was however able to continue working and conventional general cargo and bulk type sips were able to load.

Port operations at Cape Town and the container terminal specifically remain impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Western Cape and Cape Town as the epicentre of the outbreak in South Africa at present. Cape Town Container Terminal has been severely affected with restricted number of gangs (teams) available and the terminal reported to be operating at a third of its capacity.

This of course means significant berthing delays and low productivity, which is unlikely to improve until the COVID-19 crisis is under full control and lessening in the region and when staff are able to return to duty. As an example and a result of this, the Maersk Line/Hamburg Sud vessel SANTA CLARA on voyage 202B sailed South Africa on the SAECS service 16 days behind proforma schedule and will coincide with another vessel of the same service, SANTA RITA 202B/203A in Europe.

Santa Clara sailing from Durban in 2019. The ships has an affinity with the port, having been christened in Durban when she first entered service. This picture by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Santa Clara sailing from Durban in 2019. The ships has an affinity with the port, having been christened in Durban when she first entered service. This picture by Keith Betts



The following number of ships were in port and outside at anchor awaiting entry as of Sunday 14 June 2020:


PORTS Ships in Port Ships at OuterAnchorage
Richards Bay 11 27
Durban 24 28
East London 2 0
Ngqura/Port Elizabeth 5 22*
Saldanha Bay 4 0

* Some of these are bunkering outside only


MSC Orchestra, a familiar sight in and outside Durban., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Orchestra, now a familiar sight in and outside Durban

Among the ships outside Durban is the cruise ship MSC ORCHESTRA, now the only remaining cruise ship in South African waters. Orchestra has only recently returned to the outer anchorage after spending a few days back in port. This appears to be the pattern with the ship outside for a length of time, then entering port for several days and returning to the anchorage.

As if to arouse the further interest of onlookers, of which Durban is blessed with plenty who live along the elevated hills that fringe the Durban coastline. Those that dwell in the Umhloti, Umhlanga, La Lucia, Glenashley and Durban North suburbs especially have excellent vantage points overlooking the outer anchorage and will have noticed that on occasion the passenger ship ‘disappears’ from view without entering port.

This happens when she has gone on a short cruise along either the North or South Coasts of KZN, usually overnight and for reasons not openly apparent.

MSC Orchestra’s cruise season in South Africa, homeported in Durban, came to an early end in April with the lockdown of South Africa over the coronavirus, and instead of returning to the Mediterranean as scheduled her operators, MSC Cruises SA requested permission for the ship to remain outside port until further notice, which was granted. The 2019/20 season was intended as a one-off cruise season in SA for this particular ship, with a sister vessel MSC MUSICA replacing her for the 2020/21 season, while at the same time a second ship, MSC OPERA will cruise from Cape Town.

Whether these plans will still unfold is anyone’s guess at present



Mozambique has introduced a coastal shipping service between the ports of Maputo in the south of the country, and Palma in the extreme north, a small harbour close to the Tanzanian border, a distance of 2,739km if it were negotiated by road.

The long coastline of Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The long coastline of Mozambique

The coastal service will operate with calls in between at Beira, Quelimane, Nacala, Pemba and Mocimboa da Praia.

The new service was inaugurated last Wednesday (10 June) by Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi who revealed the service will be operated with two ships chartered by the Mozambican Coastal Shipping Company (SMC).

SMC is a public-private enterprise between the French company Peschaud Moçambique (with 75 per cent of the shares) and the state-owned Transmarítima (25 per cent).

It has been about 30 years since Mozambique last had its own shipping company operating along the coast.

The two ships that are operating the new service are already on the coast – a 260-TEU multipurpose self-geared twin-craned vessel named GRETA and the landing craft named YLANG (IMO 9804447).

One of the two ships, Greta, is a general cargo vessel able to carry general and containers. The vessel has the capacity for 260 containers, and is equipped with two 60 tonne cranes.

The second ship, the Ylang, is a landing craft type vessel fitted with a single crane and can carry 450 tonnes of merchandise. The vessel is certified to dock at the quay of the natural gas processing complex in the Bay of Afungi, in Palma district. Ylang is currently working along the Cabo Delgado coast, between Pemba, Mocimboa da Praia and Afungi, at the service of the natural gas companies.

According to Industry & Trade Minister, Carlos Mesquita, coastal transport by sea has great promise, based on past performance. He said that in the 1980s the coastal service had 21 ships operating and carrying up to 25,000 tonnes of cargo annually. The minister estimated the cost of transporting by sea along the Mozambican coast to be eight to ten percent lower than by road.

Mozambique has no railway linking the north of the country with the south. Each railway operates from the coast leading inland and other than the Nacala and Beira railways which meet inland in Tete province at Moatize, are not connected.[/restrict]

Sources: John Hawkins, Richard Vashan, AIM, TRH


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